General Motors is offering to fix 2.2 million older small cars to prevent their keys from getting stuck in the ignition. These units are the same vehicles that GM recalled in February and March for a faulty ignition switch tried to 38 deaths. The vehicles cover MY2003-2011 Chevrolet Cobalt, Saturn Ion and other small cars, excluding those with manual transmissions.
GM has notified dealers of a "special coverage adjustment" that offers a free repair to customers experiencing some trouble removing the key from the ignition. The carmaker said in the notification that between three to four percent of the 2.2 million vehicles are affected by the stuck keys issue.
According to a bulletin sent to GM dealers, cars suffering from the issue might have a transmission shifter that doesn’t properly transmit an electrical signal that enables the ignition key to be turned back from the “accessory” position to the “lock” position.
Once this condition happens, a driver might not be able to the ignition key from the ignition cylinder. Stuck keys can be removed using a manual-release plunger on the underside of the steering column, although most drivers are not expected to know where the plunger is without reading the manual.
According to GM, the issue is not tied to any crashes or injuries since it doesn't occur while the vehicle is moving. The issue, however, could lead to a severe battery drain or a possible no start condition when a key is left in the accessory position for long time.
To fix the issue, dealers are to replace the automatic transmission shifter, a process that could take at least three hours. Dealers are also urged to provide courtesy vehicles or transportation to affected customers.