The Federal regulators say that when the vehicle identification number (VIN) is entered into the GM website to identify those cars that have been recalled and need repairs, the website is giving the incorrect information to some owners. GM maintains a website which is supposed to make it easy for customers to find out if their vehicle has been recalled for any reason. By simply inputting the VIN number of the car, the customer is supposed to be able to see a list of all the recall issues which need to be resolved.
The main concern is some owners have been told their car is not on the recall list when in fact it does have an ignition switch issue. The error was that when parts for the repair weren’t available, the website indicated the vehicle didn’t need to be repaired instead of explaining the parts to repair the car weren’t currently available.
Upon determining the issue, the NHTSA told GM to fix the issue and to notify owners of the possible mistake. GM has indicated that it is making those changes to its website.
All GM owners are being encouraged to go back to the website and enter their VIN number again, even if they had previously done so and were told their car wasn’t part of the recall list. This is to make sure they weren’t one of those told their vehicle was not part of the recall when it actually needs to be repaired. If people are still concerned, they should call GM customer care to talk to a live person who can determine if their car is part of the recall.
The ignition switch defect has been linked to at least 13 deaths and has been known since 2001, although GM didn’t recall them until this year. The defective switches can accidentally be jarred out of the proper “run” position while a person is driving. When this happens, power to steering and brakes stops as the engine shuts off making it difficult to steer and stop the vehicle. In addition, the engine shutting off disables the airbags even though the car still might be moving at a high speed with impeded control.
GM has recalled 2.6 million vehicles in February and March 2014 worldwide with this defective ignition switch (2.19 in the US) to replace it. They then recalled another 6.59 million in June with the same issue. One of the issues in getting the switches replaced has been supply. With so many vehicles needing a new ignition switch, the manufacturer has taken months to get the supplies needed.
In all, GM has recalled 29 million vehicles this year for a number of different safety issues.
(Photo courtesy of jm3 on Flickr)