Sunday, March 9, 2014

General Motors Ignition Switch Woes

Hi folks -- undoubtedly you have been reading about the long history of GM ignition switch failures, and the NTSHA failure in its own right to react and properly respond to this deadly episode in automobile history. Actually, we had a personal experience with a switch problem years ago, and so I wonder how long this issue has really existed and what GM knew about ignition switch malfunctions long before 2004.

During the 1980s we owned a 1979 Chevrolet Malibu that was inherited from my father. Overall, this was a bad car, and because of our experience, I would never buy a GM vehicle ever again. But, back to the topic at hand. My wife Kaye was a working mom, and had lots of keys on her key chain. One day she had a work trip planned, and needed to drive to the Cincinnati airport. I said "take the Mailbu," as the other option was a 1973 Pinto.  OK, so she did, and as she was leaving Dayton she called me in a panic. "The car won't shut down!" The key in the ignition switch won't move!  So I catch up with her and tried everything to shut the car down.  Finally we ended up at White-Allen Chevrolet on North Main, where a mechanic choked the car with a rag in the air intake, and the car's engine stopped.

I realize this is the reverse of  current problem, one in which the car stopped suddenly and without warning. But the focus of the malfunction is the same, too many keys and a switch that sticks. GM knew about the too many key problem back then, and should have known about it more recently.  And to suggest just taking off all your other keys is a cop out in our caffinated society. A redesign was needed years ago.

GM's greatest mistake -- not protecting the brand! That has been their undoing before the corporation was renewed by a government bailout.

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