2.5 million GM cars have a potentially deadly problem with their ignition switch and GM is promising to replace those switches and fix the problem. NBC 7's Dave Summers explains what you should do now if you own a Chevy Cobalt or "HHR", a Pontiac G5 or Solstice, or a Saturn Ion or Sky.
General Motors has developed a dedicated website for all questions regarding the recent recalls with ignition switches and power steering.
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 recall.
On March 28, 2014, the recall was expanded to include the following vehicles: 2008-2010 Pontiac Solstice and G5; 2008-2010 Saturn Sky; 2008-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt; 2008-2011 Chevrolet HHR.
The company says "when GM notifies you that parts are available, you should contact your GM dealer to arrange a service appointment."
At this point, more than 2.5 million GM cars have a potentially deadly problem with their ignition switch. GM promises to replace those switches, and fix the problem.
In San Diego County, there are thousands of those Chevrolets, Pontiacs and Saturns, model years 2003 to 2011. This is a huge recall, and it will take time to replace all those defective switches.
But GM promises, your car is still safe to drive, with one precaution.
Mechanic Dave Ely of Convoy Auto Repair in Kearny Mesa agrees with GM executives and says there’s no need to panic if you’re driving one of the potentially defective cars.
"I would allow my own daughter to drive the car, and feel perfectly comfortable with that," Ely told NBC 7.
GM says owners should remove all but the ignition key from their key chain. That will lighten up the key chain, and prevent it from exerting weight on the ignition switch, which can accidently turn it from the “on” position to the “accessory” position. When that happens, the engine turns off, and the air bags won’t work.
But not all consumers are comfortable with that quick fix.
Keith Reid just learned today that his 2011 Chevy HHR is a potential hazard.
“I’m scared to death,” he told NBC 7.
Reid doesn’t want to wait for his local GM dealership to fix the problem, and will ask the dealership to loan him a safer car, while he waits for the repair.
"You know, it's a good idea,” he said. “I'm going to go today."
But Shannon White is not at all nervous about driving her Pontiac Solstice, which is also on the recall list.
She has not had any problems with her car, and said "If it works, don't fix it. That's kind of where I'm going on this."
She’s also ignoring GM’s advice, and will not remove her other keys and do-dads from her key chain, because she won’t remember where she put her keys, if they’re not on her key chain.
White did say she may eventually let GM replace her ignition switch, but she won't be first in line at the dealership for a repair.
“Let them learn it real well [how to fix the problem] before I come in," she said.
NBC 7 also discussed this issue with San Diego attorney Craig McClellan, who has handled hundreds of vehicle defect cases.
McClellan says the GM cars on the recall list are not safe to drive until the switches are replaced, and thinks owners should ask a GM dealership for a loaner car.