DETROIT – General Motors says it needs to change or replace the keys for about 3.4 million cars, including almost 188,000 in Canada, because they could cause the ignition switch to move out of position if there is too much weight on the key chain.
GM said in a statement Monday that the switches can rotate out of “run” if the key has excess weight and the car “experiences some jarring event,” such as hitting a pothole or crossing a railway track.
That can shut off the engines and disable power steering, causing drivers to lose control. Also, the air bags won’t work. The recall affects seven cars with model years ranging from 2000 to 2014.
The latest recall covers the 2005-2009 Buick LaCrosse, 2006-2014 Chevrolet Impala, 2000 to 2005 Cadillac Deville, 2004-2011 Cadillac DTS, the 2006-2011 Buick Lucerne, the 2004 and 2005 Buick Regal LS and GS, and the Chevy Monte Carlo from the 2006 through 2008 model years.
GM says dealers will add an insert to the car keys to change the hole from a slot to a circle. The company says that until the repairs are made, owners should remove everything from their key chains and drive with only the key in the ignition.
GM also is recalling 166,000 other cars for a series of other problems, including 13,764 in Canada.
The vehicles in Canada are:
— 6,135 model year 2013-14 Cadillac ATS and 21,863 model year 2014 Cadillac CTS sedans. In certain vehicles with automatic transmissions, the shift cable may not be fully secured to the shifter bracket or transmission bracket. If the shift cable comes out of the brackets, the driver may not be able to shift the transmission in or out of gear. GM is unaware of any crashes or injuries related to this condition.
— 6,778 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500 HD and 2015 GMC Sierra 2500/3500 GMC Sierra HD to inspect for proper attachment of power steering hose clamps to the power steering pump. If the vehicle is driven with the clamp unattached, the hose may disconnect from the pump or gear, causing a rapid loss of power steering fluid result in loss of power steering assist and Hydro Boost powered brakes without warning. The vehicle would revert to manual brakes and manual steering. GM knows of no crashes or injuries from the condition.
— 790 model year 2011 Cadillac CTS sedans with AWD. On some vehicles, a gasket leak where the constant velocity joint meets the rear propeller shaft may cause the rear propeller shaft to separate or become loose, making contact with the vehicle floor above and causing the rollover sensor to deploy the roof rail air bags. GM is aware of 15 unintended deployments, but injury data is unclear.
— 61 model year 2014 Chevrolet Corvettes with optional competition sport seats because an unbelted child and door trim may block the passenger seat side air bag vent in a deployment. Dealers will replace the current air bag with a redesigned version. GM is unaware of any crashes or injuries related to this condition, but advises customers to not allow small children in the front seat until the vehicle is serviced.
In addition to the key recalls announced Monday, GM has already recalled 2.6 million older small cars, mostly in the U.S., for a similar problem where the ignition switch slips out of “run” and causes an engine stall. In that case, the problem is with the mechanics of the switch. In this latest recall, GM says the problem is with the design of the key.
GM began reviewing ignition switches across its lineup after initiating the earlier recall. GM links that switch problem to 13 deaths. GM says it knows of eight crashes and six injuries tied to the latest ignition switch recall.
The company also raised its expected second-quarter charge for recall expenses to $700 million.
The recalls announced Monday bring to 44 the total number of GM recalls this year, covering 17.73 million vehicles in the U.S. and more than 20 million worldwide. The company has surpassed its old U.S. full-year recall record of 10.75 million vehicles set in 2004.
— With files from The Canadian Press