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GM recalls 3.16 million cars for another ignition switch problem

General Motors has found another problem with ignition switches in vehicles.

In what's sure to become extra ammunition in Wednesday's Senate committee interrogation of GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra, the automaker this week is recalling 3.16 million mostly older model vehicles to replace slotted keys with keys with a hole.

The company says the fix will prevent the cars from inadvertently turning off if there is extra weight on the key ring and the car goes over a bump.

The cars involved in the recall:

Chevrolet Impala, model years 2005-2009, and Chevrolet Monte Carlo, model years 2006-2008

Cadillac Deville, model years 2000-2005, Cadillac DTS, model years 2004-2011 Buick Lacrosse, model years 2005-2009, Buick Lucerne, model years 2006-2011, and Buick Regal LS and DS, model years 2004-2005

General Motors no longer makes any of the recalled cars, except the Impala, which is the previous generation of the new Impala, and is provided only to rental fleets.

Since GM announced in early February that it had delayed a recall of 2.6 million cars with a potentially deadly defective ignition switch, the company has recalled millions more for many other reasons.

But this recall is similar in nature to the delayed recall, in that it appears that the torque required to turn off the ignition switch is so low that the force of a swinging key ring, loaded down with extra items, can turn off the car, if it goes over a bump.

Once the car turns off, its power steering, power brakes, and airbags will not work.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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