The GM ignition switch recall
Q. What vehicles are affected?
A: All 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5, 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR, 2005-2006 Pontiac Pursuit (Canada), 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice and 2007 Saturn Sky vehicles are involved in the ignition switch recall. This list has been expanding in recent days to include some versions of 2008-2011 model Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac G-5, Pontiac Solstice and Pontiac Sky.
Q. What is the problem?
A: There is a risk that the ignition switch may move out of the “run” position, resulting in a loss of electrical power and turning off the engine. This risk increases if a key ring is carrying added weight or if a vehicle experiences rough road conditions. If the ignition switch is not in the run position, the air bags may not deploy in case of a crash.
Q. What will GM do?
A: GM is working to obtain parts, and expects to have them this month. The repair will be performed at no charge. The company is sending letters to owners based on registration data.
Q. What should the car owner do?
A. Until the recall repairs have been performed, remove all items from the key ring, leaving only the vehicle key. Contact any Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac dealer. GM says with no additional items on the key ring, the vehicle is safe to drive pending the repair.
Q. What are lawmakers doing?
A. General Motors CEO Mary Barra and the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration face congressional hearings today and Wednesday.
In written testimony released ahead of the hearing, NHTSA chief David Friedman casts the blame on GM, saying it had information connecting defective ignition switches to the nondeployment of air bags, but didn't share it until last month.
Barra is expected to promise changes.
“Sitting here today, I cannot tell you why it took years for a safety defect to be announced in (the small car) program, but I can tell you that we will find out,” Barra said in prepared testimony.
Q. What are the other recent recalls?
A. GM is recalling 1.5 million cars made in 2010 or earlier because the electronic power-steering assist can suddenly stop working. They include the 2010 Cobalt compact, the 2009-2010 Chevrolet HHR compact and the 2004-2007 Saturn ION. A separate recall involves pickups and SUVs and a potential fire hazard due to a loose fitting for the transmissions' oil cooler lines. Those vehicles include the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups and the 2015 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe.
Q. What if you have other questions about these or other recalls?
A. Visit GM.com. Or call these hotline numbers: Chevrolet: 800-222-1020; Pontiac: 800-762-2737; and Saturn: 800-553-6000.