More Details on GM's Latest Ignition-Related Recall


On June 16, GM issued its second major ignition-switch recall, which affects 3.16 million larger cars in the U.S. — the 2005-2009 Buick LaCrosse, 2006-2011 Lucerne and 2005 Regal; the 2000-2005 Cadillac DeVille and 2004-2011 DTS; and the 2006-2008 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 2006-2013 Chevrolet Impala and 2014 Impala Limited (a carryover of the old Impala, not the redesigned sedan). An additional 200,000 of the same cars will be recalled outside the U.S. too.

GM Recalls Another 3 Million Vehicles

The recall sounds a lot like this year's earlier GM recall of 2.2 million small cars in the U.S. for faulty ignition switches, which centered mostly on the Chevrolet Cobalt, Saturn Ion and Pontiac G5 compacts. In both situations, a pothole or other disruption could bump the key out of the "run" position while the vehicle is moving, which could deactivate airbags and various electrical systems.

This recall is unique, however. For starters, it doesn't include a replacement of the ignition cylinder and switch, as the Cobalt and its peers require — just a new key. We chatted with GM recall spokesman Alan Adler to clarify some details. For answers to the original ignition-switch recall, read our earlier Q&A here.

Why won't GM replace the ignition switch in these cars too?
This is a different problem. The Cobalt and its peers had a faulty ignition switch, so a bump in the road could pull the key out of its "run" position if there was weight on the key chain. In this batch of cars, GM decided that a redesigned key would sufficiently reduce any leverage from a heavy key chain to rotate it out of the "run" position, Adler said. That eliminates the risk without having to swap out the ignition cylinder or switch, as the Cobalt and its peers require.
What's the difference between the keys?
Existing keys for the recalled cars have a wide, slotted hole that couples with your key chain. The new key will have a much smaller, circular hole that's just 4 millimeters by 6 millimeters. "What that will do is, ideally, [owners] put less junk on the key ring," Adler said. But if they don't, the new design still reduces the leverage for heavy key chains to pull the key out of position, he added.
"When you have a slot in there, you've got a lever, basically," he added. "If you've got a hole in there, you have less of a chance of that [rotation] happening."
GM has tested the new key at its Michigan proving grounds, and Adler said it's passed every test.
Can't I just go to my local hardware store and get a new key cut with a smaller hole?
That would seem like a viable solution, but it's unclear if the replacement keys have additional modifications your hardware store can't replicate. "We are very early in this recall, so some of the answers are not yet widely known," Adler told us. It's also unclear if any of these GM keys use any electronic chips, which complicates third-party replacements.
There are too many variables to know for sure, so we recommend following GM's advice: Keep your current key, but take it off the keychain and use it alone in the ignition. Then, when recall notices arrive, bring your car to a Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet or GMC dealership for a factory replacement. We should add that since the style of key matters, it's best to stick with your dealer for any subsequent replacements of the new key.
When will I get a recall notice?
"We do expect to have keys relatively soon, within weeks," Adler told us. "I do not have a mailing date yet, and because of the volume [of cars], it may be an advisory letter first followed by a 'call to schedule an appointment' letter."

GM will mail letters to the address on each car's registration, so if you've moved without updating your registration — or your car is registered under a relative who lives elsewhere, like your parents — make sure to track it down. You should also contact your state's department of motor vehicles to update that registration.

How long will the whole campaign take?
"I don't know that we have an end date for it," Adler said. As of June 16, he said GM had fixed about 170,000 of the 2.2 million U.S. small cars in the original ignition recall, which the automaker announced in stages between Feb. 25 and April 9. But that required a full kit — including new keys, ignition cylinders and ignition switches — for each car. Two of the three pieces aren't necessary here, and Adler said there should be a "decent supply pretty much from the start."

How long will the recall appointment itself take? Will my dealer give me a free loaner vehicle?
Because GM is modifying your key, Adler said the appointment should take "minutes, not hours," and GM will not furnish loaner rentals like it's doing with the earlier ignition recall. Still, the volume of GM recalls means you'll "certainly want to call ahead and not just show up," he added. "We've put a lot of [recall] business on our dealers lately."

If I want to buy one of these cars used, does a key with the smaller hole mean the recall work was done?
Not necessarily. If the vehicle has the old key, it certainly means the recall hasn't been done. But the new key doesn't necessarily mean it has.

"If somebody happens to have one of the smaller-hole keys — I don't know if they got it, [but] what if they do?" Adler said. These are "older vehicles. Lots of things have happened."

Dealers can look up VINs and tell you if recall work has been completed, he added. By this August you should be able to do that on your own via the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website,

Manufacturer images


Anonymous Coward

"GM decided that a redesigned key would sufficiently reduce any leverage from a heavy key chain to rotate it out of the "run" position, Adler said."

Sounds like a half-baked solution. They should replace the ignition cylinders with ones which require more torque, just like the Cobalt.


So how is the ignition in the Grand Prix not recalled as well? It is a W-Body just like the Lacrosse and Regal, and even though the ignition is on the dash instead of the steering column, it still sits at an angle while running that with too much weight it could potentially turn off. Granted having driven a Lacrosse and a Grand Prix, i would imagine it would have to be a significant amount of weight to turn the key, unlike the cobalt.


This is not true. Cars in the earlier recal also have the key with long slot. So again what makes this different??? My husbands car is a saturn iin and my saturn vue has the same problem, but GM is still trying to cover more cars falty ignition switches up. Here is a video we made of my vue and others have this problem as well...


This recall is ridiculous. My 2005 Buick Lacrosse has the engine light on. The abs light on. The brake light on. The traction control light is on. The engine cuts in and out. This is definitely not the fix. My mechanic says the ignition switch must be replaced. And GM is saying we have to pay for it? My 17 year old drives it. I won't let him drive it anymore it's so scary. I let him drive my Jeep. I'd rather die before him. I don't know what to do or who to contact. I call the 1-800 number and sit there on hold so long I finally hang up. This is a crock. I will never buy a Buick again.


This fix is laughable. Call the chief council at NHTSA who is handling the recall to let him know that a key modification and a new key ring are not acceptable, and that NHTSA should require GM to replace the ignition key cylinder instead. His name is Kevin Vincent and his phone number is 202-366-4000.

Al Dzurka

Just got my car back from dealership, now the abs and another brake light is on in the dash.

Fran H

Dealership said to bring both keys to my appointment, I said I got 3 keys with my car, they said they will only modify 2 of them, whats up with that??


Well G.M obviously controls all the North American Government regulatory agencies. Here in Canada our minister of Transport dances around in circles in an effort to deflect blame.M.S Raitte spins faster and faster as she dodges reasonability by our Government. more deaths and injuries continue to occur while G.M and Transport Canada deny any blame.

charles Corbett

My wife had her ignition repaired on her 2008 chevy impala on 10-31-2014 , this did not resolve the problem , lost power steering and power brakes was almost rear ended and side swiped.


Kay Nelson

2008 Cadillac DTS REALLY??????? A smaller hole so you don't hang extra stuff on it, I have the letter, we are NOT getting anything done until they come up with a real solution. It makes no sence to change the key and not the switch. I will continue to use just the key, too bad they can't give us the key and switch that the newer ones have. At 50,000. for this car new is a sad story of stupidity. I will never buy another GM product.

Al Mitchell

I have a 2008 Chevy Impala. Did the recall thing 2 weeks ago for the ignition and now my car will not shift out of park. Had it towed to mechanics this morning. Waiting for results. Wondering if anybody else has had this problem.


Had my keys fixed and my 2005 impala still shuts off at will.


How do I get atypekey account?

Thelma Calloway

This recall is bogus. I had my keys redone. And my ignition cylinder won't turn at all! And GM wants to charge almost a thousand dollars to fix it. When they could have changed the ignition cylinder in the beginning!

Debra Lewis

I took my car in for the recall December 23, 2014 now my car hesitates in traffic and almost stops completely. I'm taking it back to the dealership in hopes that they will Really fix the problem. Do someone have to be Seriously hurt before GM will own up to fixing the Real problem and Not just changing a Stupid key!!!

Qully C

I knew nothing of the recall until my key became stuck in the key hole (ignition switch maybe) and I could not get it out nor get my car to turn off. I thought the recall would fix the problem but no, the Chevy dealership stated only the key would be worked on. How is it that this recall would not cover the ignition switch if my key plays a vital role in my problem and they know these units are having ignition trouble?

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