When General Motors realized the ignition switches in a few of its cars was a liability, it had the switches redesigned in 2007. However, GM and Delphi Automotive never bothered to change the part number of the unit. Now, with 1.62 million cars being recalled, GM is being faced with the task of determining which switches are safe.
According to GM’s filings with the National Highway Travel Safety Administration, General Motors and Delphi Automotive added a shorter, tenser spring to the switch seven years ago to prevent them from being twisted, but the part number was never changed for the new switch—not an uncommon practice. Dealers now have no way of knowing which switch is in their inventory. Parts dealers aren’t believed to be the recipient of the newer switch.
According to GM spokesperson Jim Cain, the investigation into the replacement parts came at the request of NHTSA. The company knows about the issue is “cooperating fully with NHTSA,” Cain said.
Repairs to current vehicles sidelined by the recall will begin on April 4th, with the process expected to finish by October.