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Thread: Clean off those keyrings, people!

  1. #1

    Default Clean off those keyrings, people!

    In recent news, General Motors has issued a recall for 1.4 Million cars, starting with the 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G6s and expanding out into some other models from the mid-2000s. Apparently, if one has too much stuff on one's keyring, hitting bad bumps can cause enough motion to overwhelm the ignition cylinder and turn off the car at speed. Cutting off the ignition switch cuts off the electrical system and assist systems, which disables the airbags and power steering. Thus far, 13 people have died as a result of accidents where black-box analysis shows the electrical systems were not active at the time of the crash.

    Lawsuit: GM knew of Cobalt ignition problem in 2004 | Detroit Free Press | freep.com

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/03/bu...l-crashes.html

    So first, clean off those keyrings, people! I have never understood why anyone thinks it's a good idea to have several pounds (a couple of kilos) of keys and trinkets suspended several feet high in a movable cylinder supported only by a thin piece of cut brass in the first place, but there are people that drive around looking like janitors and junk collectors for all the keys to old apartments and novelty keychains from vacations long-forgotten they keep on their keys. My mom actually broke the ignition cylinder in one of her cars years ago by doing that very thing. If you have a bunch of crap on your car keys, split it into two rings, discard some of the crap, or something. You have good reason to do so.

    Moving on from there, though, I've been following this story a bit, given my interest in the auto industry. Documents and testimony are showing that GM engineers encountered this problem during product testing back then. The company issued a Technical Service Bulletin (an advisory document for dealers highlighting a potential issue and the fix for it) and suggested a guard of some sort as the fix if a customer complained. Of course, now we're 10+ years out from some when some of those cars were even made and when GM first discovered there might be a problem.

    Amongst the 13 people killed was a pediatric nurse that was apparently a lovely citizen and a 16-year-old girl that hit a tree while doing 69 mph in a 25 zone while drunk. GM has apologized publicly twice now and are doing an investigation. Of course, there's also this recall.


    I post this because I'm curious what normal people think of all this. One of the auto enthusiast sites I follow has been following the story closely, and of course, the commentariat on a site like that... Doesn't necessarily reflect reality (kinda like how we don't necessarily reflect reality when it comes to diapers and the like).

    Did GM handle this well? Should they have recalled sooner? Is this just a case of bad luck for a few people that had too much stuff on their keyrings? What are your thoughts?

  2. #2

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    Very interesting, I try to keep my keys to the bare minimum, not much for having a lot of stuff on my keys, it makes it harder to find the key I need.

  3. #3

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    It wasn't handled well, but the way it was handled is to be expected.



    Quote Originally Posted by NY Times
    There was “at least one incident” in 2004 in which the engine was shut off after the driver “inadvertently contacted the key or steering column,” according to the chronology.It wasn’t a fluke.
    The automaker said other employees were “able to replicate this phenomenon during test drives.” Before the end of the year, engineers concluded a defect in the ignition meant that the key could be jostled out of the “run” position if the driver’s leg hit it or if the key ring was too heavy, turning off the engine.
    In 2004, G.M. engineers suggested a fix, but executives decided against it, citing “consideration of the lead time required, cost and effectiveness.” G.M. cited the same problem in last month’s recalls.
    This quote shows that, despite knowing the problem they acted in their best interest to save money, as would any business.

    The fix in the TSB - to remove all unnecessary keys from the key ring is absurd, I have 14 brass keys, 3 steel keys, and key fobs, of which only two brass keys can be discarded, and one be taken off due to lack of frequent use, so this isn't always plausible, and as you can imagine, my keys weight quite a bit.

    That being said, my keys thrash around against the dash, and if I'm driving the van, my leg on even the slightest bump, but it never has enough energy to turn the cylinder.

    tl;dr: GM handled it the way any large business would, the way that costs the least money. It was a repeatable problem that was found in 2004, at which time it should've been resolved, so it clearly wasn't just some bad luck...At least in my eyes

  4. #4

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    I learned long ago that too many keys on the ring can damage the ignition. I have my house key, ignition key and fob on the ring. All other keys are separate.

  5. #5

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    Many, many years ago I heard of stories where the ignition switch was damaged due to the weight of the keyring and keys on it. I have for many of those years, have only the car key on the ring and have a separate ring for all other keys. It's really not that much trouble to carry two rings and also its better than having all that weight swinging around, hitting things.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tezzeh View Post
    The fix in the TSB - to remove all unnecessary keys from the key ring is absurd, I have 14 brass keys, 3 steel keys, and key fobs, of which only two brass keys can be discarded, and one be taken off due to lack of frequent use, so this isn't always plausible, and as you can imagine, my keys weight quite a bit.

    That being said, my keys thrash around against the dash, and if I'm driving the van, my leg on even the slightest bump, but it never has enough energy to turn the cylinder.
    And it's 100% impossible for you to put ignition key on one ring and the dozen or so that in no way operate your vehicle on another?

  7. #7

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    Auto Enthusiast here.

    Toyota had a massive one a few weeks ago too.

    Massive Recall: Toyota Prius, Toyota RAV4, Toyota Tacoma, Lexus RX 350 - The Washington Post


    All companies have recalls. If a company recalls a vehicle it doesn't make me think less of a brand... Building absolutely perfect, mass produced vehicles is impossible. It happens to every company, could they have recalled it earlier to be safe? Probably, but with a recall this big, the company needs to be absolutely certain because recalls cost a lot of money. Bad luck? Getting in a car crash is bad luck period, and Modern Cars and so much safer than cars used to be it doesn't make sense to me to nit pick on what could have been.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by RetrieverPup View Post
    And it's 100% impossible for you to put ignition key on one ring and the dozen or so that in no way operate your vehicle on another?
    I keep my keys clipped to a carabiner, which I then clip to my belt loop, not enough space in my pockets with all the other stuff I carry.

  9. #9

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    I'm very simple when it comes to keys! Not only does this effect GM, is is generally not good for any ignition to have a ton of weight on the keys. I keep only my car key and my house key on the ring, thats it. If i needed one for my office, I'd likely have that too, but luckily I can swipe my badge in all the doors at work. I do have a separate keychain that I keep at home which has my mailbox keys, and keys to relatives houses.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldDragonAurkarm View Post
    What are your thoughts?
    that GM is largely being used as a scapegoat for more fundamental and wide-ranging issues.
    that is, based on my observation and experience, 70 to 90% of drivers aren't fit to drive and, broadening the range, the lack of commonsense amongst most people (like, how could one not know that a lock cylinder is overly easy to turn, as you have to turn it to start the motor, and the possible risks that would be associated with that?).

    that's not to say that GM didn't produce a poor quality product, but it should've been immediately obvious to any user or potential buyer, so why did they then use/buy the vehicle? for them to legitimately hold a driving licence they would have to be aware of the risks as it would their responsibility to maintain and ensure the roadworthiness of the vehicle.
    if you bought an electric kettle and it's plug kept falling out of the socket, you wouldn't keep on using it, would you?
    unless you weren't fit to use electrical products, that is.

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