General Motors has deemed 131 claims eligible for compensation so far. (Photo : General Motors)
General Motors has more bad news: The recall to mend ignition switches on 2.6 million vehicles has been expanded to include another part.
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Besides the problematic ignition switches, dealers will be replacing ignition lock cylinders on the recalled small cars, Edmunds.com reported.
GM found that the cylinders "allow the removal of the ignition key while the engine is running, leading to a possible rollaway, crash, and occupant or pedestrian injuries," the carmaker said in a statement.
The recall, which started this week, includes the 2005-'10 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2005-'07 Pontiac G5, 2003-'07 Saturn Ion, 2006-'11 Chevrolet HHR, 2006-'10 Pontiac Solstice and 2007-'10 Saturn Sky.
In addition to the switches and cylinders, GM dealers will also give customers newly designed keys that have a tiny hole in the center, Edmunds reported.
A spokesman said the extra fix shouldn't result in significant delays for owners.
"We will begin fixing cars on Friday," GM spokesman Kevin M. Kelly told Edmunds in an email. "Where we can, we are shipping ignition cylinders with the ignition switches to make both repairs on one customer visit."
Until the vehicles are fixed, GM has been warning owners to remove everything from their key rings except the key necessary to start the vehicle.
For cars with automatic transmissions, GM advises that drivers shift the cars into "Park" before removing the key. When it comes to manual transmissions, drivers should be certain that the ignition is turned off and "set to reverse gear with the parking brake set before removing the key," Edmunds reported.
Due to the massive recall, which has been connected to at least 31 crashes and 13 deaths, General Motors has been under federal investigation. CEO Mary Barra was questioned before Congress earlier this month as officials and lawmakers try to find out why the ignition switch issue was overlooked for more than a decade.
GM announced Thursday that the recall will cost the company around $1.3 billion in the first quarter of the year to cover repairs in the affected cars as well as costs for loaner vehicles.
While the $1.3 billion charge is double the cost that was initially estimated, Barra has made it clear that she intended for GM to put a new focus on drivers and their safety over money.
"I want to make it clear to our customers that you are our compass," Barra said in a statement. "You are at the heart of everything we do and we intend to make this recall as smooth as possible for you so we will not let it ever happen again."