General Motors is recalling certain model year 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, and 2007 Pontiac G5 vehicles because of a faulty ignition switch. The company says the weight of heavy key rings combined with bumpy roads can move the ignition to the off position, which shuts off the engine without warning.
If the key is not in the run position, the air bags may not deploy if the vehicle is involved in a crash, increasing the risk of injury. In addition, power steering assist and power-assisted brakes also are inoperable.
The recall covers 778,000 cars in the United States, Mexico and Canada.
According to GM, six people have been killed in five front-end crashes, all of which happened off-road and at high speeds. In each case, the ignition switch moved out of the run position, shutting off the engine and electrical power, spokesman Alan Adler said.
GM will notify owners directly about the recall, and dealers will replace the ignition switch, free of charge. Timing of the replacements has not been announced. In the meantime, GM is urging drivers to remove nonessential items from key rings.
If you think your car fits the recall, you can contact Chevrolet at 800-222-1020 or Pontiac at 800-762-2737.