Keys in some Camaros can be knocked loose, shutting down engine

Do you own a 2010 through 2015 Chevrolet Camaro? If you do, you should be aware that the ignition key may be defective. Worse, GM has known about the problem for five years but failed to take effective action. Instead, it offered replacement keys for purchase.

According to Consumer Reports, General Motors originally issued a recall on the faulty keys in 2014. The problem? Drivers might knock the keys with their knees while they were in the ignition. If that happened, the position of the key could be altered enough to shut down the car and even disable the breaks, airbags and power steering. Naturally enough, this problem could vastly increase the danger of an accident.

Does your Camaro have a switchblade-like key?

The Camaros in question are “flip” keys that open like switchblades. Other GM cars also have flip keys, but they are not included in the recall. That GM replaced the Camaro’s flip key with a traditional key to resolve the defect.

This year, an employee discovered that flip keys were still being sold to motorists as a replacement part. Consumer Reports found them still available from third-party online sellers. As a result of this discovery, GM has reissued its recall on the defective keys.

“It’s outrageous that GM left thousands of its customers at risk for more than five years after its ignition-switch recalls,” says Consumer Reports’ manager of safety policy. He called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to investigate why the problem wasn’t resolved earlier.

A GM spokesperson told Consumer Reports that the company has not received any reports of crashes or injuries caused by the defect.

Although the key recall took place at the same time, it was unrelated to a massive recall of 15 million vehicles with faulty ignition switches. Chevys, Buicks, Pontiacs, Cadillacs and Saturns were all recalled in 2014, as the faulty ignition switch could cause the vehicles to turn off suddenly during travel. At least 124 fatalities and numerous injuries were allegedly caused by the ignition switch defect.

What to do if you are affected by this defect

NHTSA’s recall number is 19E064 and GM’s recall number N192223230. If you have a flip-style key for a 2010 through 2015 Camaro, you should contact GM customer service at 800-222-1020. A dealer will replace your flip key with a non-defective traditional key.

If your Camaro turned off or became disabled while it was being driven, you should notify NHTSA’s Special Crash Investigations unit at 877-201-3172 or SCI@dot.gov. If the incident caused an injury or fatality, you should contact an attorney who practices in product liability law.

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