“There is a risk, under certain conditions, that your ignition switch may move out of the “run” position, resulting in a partial loss of electrical power and turning off the engine,” GM’s newly refurbished ignition switch recall website informs drivers who need to look up information about GM ignition switch defects.
The website allows consumers to find specific General Motors (GM) recall information online by clicking on a list of vehicle models and years. Users are then directed to safety information that describes the ignition switch problem.
The website also warns drivers that the risk of an ignition-related problem “increases if your key ring is carrying added weight (such as more keys or the key fob) or your vehicle experiences rough road conditions or other jarring or impact related events” and offers a “3-point check plan” on how to handle the vehicle before repairs are made.
When the ignition is in another position besides “run,” the vehicle’s airbags will not deploy if the vehicle is involved in a crash, “increasing the risk of injury or fatality,” GM’s recall website advises.
The Detroit automaker has linked its ignition switch flaw to 13 deaths and 54 crashes over the past 10 years, although most auto safety experts say that toll is almost certainly much higher. GM started recalling vehicles affected by the bad ignition switches in February. The total number of vehicles recalled now stands around 17.5 million.
Before launching its GM ignition update website, the automaker required consumers to enter their car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) into its Recall Center website. However, earlier this month the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) told GM that the VIN-lookup system was telling some consumers that their vehicles weren’t among those being recalled for ignition switch defects and other flaws when they actually were. GM has since fixed the problem.
GM said that it expanded its new ignition switch website to make it easier for consumers to look up recall information. The automaker also said it has plans to allow consumers to register their vehicle for replacement parts on the website.
So far, dealerships have replaced about 806,000 defective ignition switches. GM sent recall letters out to about 1.9 million owners earlier this month urging them to have their vehicles serviced for the repair.
In a quarterly filing with NHTSA July 25, GM said that about 6.4 percent of the two notices it mailed to owners were returned as undeliverable. That’s about 140,000 Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, Saturn, and other model cars, trucks and SUVs.
Given the potential deadliness of the ignition switch defect, GM has said several times that it is aiming for a 100-percent repair rate in the ignition switch recall, but its failure to contact all owners underscores the difficulty of tracking down vehicles that may have changed hands multiple times in the past several years. The rate of completion for most automotive recalls is about 75 percent.