As owners of 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalts, Pontiac G5s, Saturn Ions and other cars await the recall letters that should start arriving March 10, there is one thing they can do right now to reduce their risk of crashing: lighten their keychains.
GM is recalling nearly 1.4 million cars after a failure of the ignition switch was found to be a factor in 13 fatal crashes. The automaker knew about the problem for nearly a decade before a recall order was issued a few weeks ago.
If you own one of these cars, you'll be able to get it fixed once you get your letter. But in the meantime, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and GM advise you to take stuff of your key ring, as that and bumpy roads can cause the ignition to switch off mid-driving, potentially also deactivating the airbags.
From a NHTSA statement:
NHTSA urges owners and drivers to follow GM's recommendation to "use only the ignition key with nothing else on the key ring" when operating the vehicle and seek the permanent repair remedy from GM as soon as replacement parts become available.
As I've said before, it's foolish to blame owners for crashes related to this defect, especially when GM never said it was a problem for the car in the first place; no one deserves to die in a crash because they had too much crap on their keychains.
But this is probably a good idea until the car gets fixed, and a good one in general, since a heavy keychain can often cause undue wear on the ignition switch.
The recalled vehicles are the 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5 and Pontiac Pursuit (Canada); the 2003-2007 Saturn Ion; the 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR; the 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice; and the 2007 Saturn Sky.