By on June 13, 2014

camaro

General Motors has recalled 511,,528 Camaros – that is, every single current generation Camaro ever made – for a defect involving the ignition key fob being inadvertently bumped and switched to “off”.

According to GM,

General Motors will recall all current generation Chevrolet Camaros because a driver’s knee can bump the key FOB and cause the key to inadvertently move out of the “run” position, with a corresponding reduction or loss of power. 

The issue, which may primarily affect drivers sitting close to the steering column, was discovered by GM during internal testing following the ignition switch recall earlier this year.

GM is apparently aware of three crashes and four minor injuries that can be attributed to this problem. The Camaro recall is part of a wider recall that can be viewed here.

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61 Comments on “GM Recalls Every Fifth Generation Camaro...”


  • avatar
    I've got a Jaaaaag

    The more surprising thing to me is, you can get push button start on a Malibu or a Cruze, yet you can’t get it on a Camaro.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Moreover, GM actually went out of its way to create a smart-key system on the Cruze where previously there was none. The Cruze had only the mechanical turn-key ignition for MY2011, but in MY2012, a smart-key was added that included a trapezoid-shaped push button for the LTZ trim. In MY2013, the Powers That Be modified this system further by replacing the trapezoid-shaped button with a circular one.

      On the Malibu, the smart-key system is available on the 1LTZ and 2LTZ trims as part of a $1,000 “LTZ Premium Package” (which also adds the $890 “Advanced Safety Package” and $1,900 “Electronics and Entertainment Package”).

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Bumblebee,
    I thought you were on our side!

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Sounds like a switch-placement problem as much as anything else.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Those crazy Saab engineers and designers…not so crazy now, huh.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    It isn’t the fast pace of life I mind, it’s the sudden stop at the end.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Would it be easier to just list what is NOT under recall?

  • avatar
    segfault

    This is a newer designed vehicle. Why doesn’t it have keyless ignition?

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      I will take a good old-fashioned key ANY day before any sort of keyless ignition that does not have a hard-wired “emergency stop” that is not reliant on software.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        This.

        The why doesn’t this have push button start is kind of silly – many cars, trucks, SUVs don’t, and at higher price points.

        • 0 avatar
          segfault

          And many have it standard, at lower price points.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            And the point is what then?

            Push button ignition is not standard – so what. It was also a contributor to the entrapped pedal issues on Toyota’s.

            The argument being just turn the key, but the Toyota required a three second press for an in-motion emergency shut down. Hard to do while steering with one hand and yanking a floor mat with the other.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Do you get direct compensation every time you bring Toyota into a discussion on GM’s negligence? You sound like someone that can’t figure out that pulling the incorrectly used floor-mat off the gas pedal obviates the need to kill power.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        I still think the best solution is a keyfob that stays in your pocket, which enables a rotating keylike assembly. Gives you those positional controls but you can also enjoy the convenience of keyless start/entry.

        • 0 avatar
          segfault

          Cadillac had this on some of the 2nd-gen CTS, and possibly other models. I think they use a pushbutton now.

          • 0 avatar
            IHateCars

            Keys?! Pushbuttons?! Let’s just go back to a hand crank, Dagnabbit!

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Suzuki SX4 hatch and Grand Vitara was where I personalyl was able to use it. I like it. Keyless is nice, but the familiarity and function of a rotating, key-shaped knob on the column was also nice.

            The Verano has a push button. It wigs me out when i stall (which I admit happens the odd time, usually looking for a destination and forgetting I am in 4th).

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            They did. Nissan also used it for its first family of smart-key cars (such as our 2005 Murano), and I believe I also saw it on the 2005-2012 Acura RL.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            All these smart keys, fobs and whatever also add complexity to the firmware, and not without problems.

            Ford’s system has locked out several people I know, and my wife’s 2012 Grand Cherokee likes set off its alarm system, at all hours of the day or night. Trouble is, our GC doesn’t have an alarm system.

            Which then makes us think of the Panic button function, but that’s no reason either if neither one of us is near the fobs!

            Smart electronics are great, except when they are not so smart.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Actually, GM had that, sort of, fifty years ago! It was on my ’62 Buick: put the key in, turn the engine on, pull the key out. You could then turn the raised switch to turn off the engine and stay in accessories, or turn it completely off and back on, and never need the key again. Of course, it made it kind of easy to steal the car.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Oh, now that I think about it, my dad’s ’64 Impala also does that. He used to utilize that feature so that he could park the car in the driveway and let it warm up in the winter. I think it has some kind of lockout switch so that it will cut off if you try to shift it into gear without putting the key back in, though…

      • 0 avatar
        LeadHead

        Meh, the ignition cylinders on modern cars with keys are basically just nicely asking the body control module to please turn the engine off when you put the key on “Off”. They aren’t going to have two completely different electrical architectures for vehicles that offered keyed and keyless ignition.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Except that they do. If not separate, an automaker’s keyed vs. keyless-access vehicles have significantly separate harnesses, architectures and protocols. You’d think it was modular (different type of switch telling the car to do the same thing), but it isn’t. That’s especially the case for GM, whose “Global-A” electronic/electrical architecture is extremely convoluted.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    The current generation Camaro came out as a 2010; the infamous Cobalt switch was redesigned for the 2008 MY. The “good” Catera/SRX switch was available since 2005. How is this situation possible?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Internal chaos and incompetence.

    • 0 avatar

      Here we find the smoking gun. In a wrongful death action the decedents claimants if they win get damages based on the income of the person killed. If dad is a surgeon or big law lawyer and he dies you then multiply that 150-300k income by expected work life. A student or waitress in that Cobalt is 15-25k times expected work life. (Emotional damages vary by state but lost income is always a measure). Since the demographic of SRX family is much different than Cobalt family the potential losses from those cars is at least a factor of ten greater. Im sure this was calculated somewhere or discussed but they have learned not to put it in a memo. Carmakers know very well the markets for each car. Toss in the fact SRX family probably has more attorneys in the family or social network and viola ! A dollar per switch appears from gm accounting !

    • 0 avatar

      It has nothing to do with the switch design, rather apparently a combination of the geometry of the controls, a key that flips out of a bulky fob, and drivers who sit very close to the wheel. The problem is caused by a knee hitting the fob and turning off the car. The switch is within specifications, only operable with a specified torque. Seems to me to be more of an ergonomic issue than defective parts.

      Right now I bet that GM is combing over the stats looking for anything that’s even remotely related to the car shutting off.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Agreed.

        I’m pretty surprised the GM W-bodies, especially the last gen Grand Prix from 04 – 09 (fleet only 09) hasn’t been recalled yet.

        One can comb the Internets and find a number of owner complaints of too easily moved ignition switches and switch failures.

        I also wish that GM would admit that the TCS/ABS wiring on U-bodies and W-bodies from 04 – 10 are utter and complete crap that can result in traction control engaging at the wrong time, cutting power while accelerating from a stop when it is not appropriate for conditions or acceleration.

        • 0 avatar
          JEFFSHADOW

          Every key I have for every car I drive has only one or two keys (1960s,1970s, 1980s have two steel keys, no fobs) on each ring. No house keys, gate keys, P.O. box keys, work keys or OTHER car keys. Keeping It Simple. These newer electronic systems are just too delicate. Modern, yes, but not without concomitant problems.
          Any of those new plastic remotes that turn in the dash ignition always eventually self-destruct (see Mercedes-Benz, last twenty years!)…
          My 1976 GMC Motorhome keys are still $1.00 apiece!

        • 0 avatar
          segfault

          A lot of the W-bodies you refer to lacked any TCS/ABS at all, thanks to Lutz’s decontenting.

          Didn’t the Grand Prix have the ignition switch on the dashboard instead of the steering column, making it easier to find and probably much less susceptible to being hit by someone’s knee? This is typical GM, coming up with a useful feature and failing to make it standard across all their models.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            The problem on the W-bodies is more similar to the Cobalt, not the Zeta based Camaro. The keys rotate too easily. IIRC there was a very similar TSB about not hanging 5 pounds of crap off the key.

            The other big ball of suck was if you had anything hanging off the Grand Prix key it would slap on the dashboard over and over again, with the rapping on the dash driving you clinically insane.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Yes, that’s true about the dash mounted key. Although my N-body Grand Am did as well while N-body Malibus did not IIRC.

      • 0 avatar
        jpolicke

        VWAG has been using those switchblade fobs for years without this problem. When your VW comes to a stop it’s a bigger issue that a switch.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Every fifth generation?

    How many bloody generations were there?

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    I had a ’76 Corvette that you could start by simply taking the ignition switch and moving it to the ‘on’ position, without any key.

    Was told that this was a common problem with all GM cars of that era that had tilt/telescopic steering.

    You need only take a pair of pliers or vice grips, clamp them on the ignition and then push it into the ‘on’ position, breaking the internal gearing. From then on the car could be started without the key.

    Does anyone else know anything about that particular problem?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Sounds like a crappy tumbler design/manufacture problem in the lock cylinder. I had a ’77 Camaro that had a similarly crappy lock cylinder. I replaced it when I rebuilt the tilt column for getting sloppy as they often do.

    • 0 avatar
      stckshft

      Indeed I do! My ’78 Chevy Scottsdale 4×4 could be started and shut off with no key in the ignition. Only my closest friends knew of that particular quirk. Back then we chalked it up to “character flaws” with our vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        rnc

        “Back then we chalked it up to “character flaws” with our vehicles.”

        Was just a child then, but every car also seemed to have a name and a great deal of verbal attention and praise, in hopes only the ‘good’ character traits would arise.

    • 0 avatar

      Early 90s Chevy trucks could be started by putting anything slightly in the ignition and the passenger door could be unlocked the same way. Made them one of the most stolen vehicles of the era. My girlfriend in high school had hers stolen three time. Got it back twice.

    • 0 avatar
      kmoney

      We had a 1990 C10 that would do this. It go to the point where I would just keep the key in my pocket and not bother even putting it in. I remember getting pulled over a couple times like this. The cop looking down at the ignition and looking back up at me with the people’s eyebrow look. At which point I would casually pull the key out of my pocket and stick it in. Usually good for a chuckle.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Recalled for kicking too much Slowstang azz maybe…

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Memories of sayings from my youth…

    GM = General Malfunction

    Ford = Found on Road Dead

    (Sung as a tune, from my friend’s dad who was a mechanic) C-H-R-Y-S-LE-R….Chrysler makes a $hitty car.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    GM says the problem is because the key and the fob are one (it’s a switchblade key like on a VW/Audi etc. etc. etc.).

    If that’s true.

    If the Camaro is a derivative of the Zeta platform.

    If the ignition switch location and column and essentially the same for the G8.

    Why no G8 recall?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      “If that’s true.

      If the Camaro is a derivative of the Zeta platform.

      If the ignition switch location and column and essentially the same for the G8.

      Why no G8 recall?”

      Because that’s not necessarily the case. It’s true that cars on the same platform will often have some of the same parts and interfaces. But once you start spreading that platform across countries and regions, it really becomes a case of sharing just the structure, but tailoring the components and interfaces to their target markets.

      Specific to this application, the G8 (and the curvy GTO that preceded it) had a lot of components that were *clearly* Holden-specific…different instrument panels, different airbag covers…it didn’t even have that loud “bong” warning chime that almost all GM cars have played through their head units for quite some time. The ignition switch probably *was* different than the one used on the Camaro, and the key certainly was different than the corporate switchblade unit you see on most GM cars, including the Camaro. Also, the Camaro kind of coerces you into a reclined, knees-up driving position, while the G8 probably had its drivers sitting up more.

  • avatar
    Kevin Kluttz

    Why, just WHY wasn’t GM simply left to die? Screw their jobs. They do not deserve to be putting this dangerous crap on the road. And why are stupid people still buying this crap? Do all GM owners live in caves with absolutely no communication?

    • 0 avatar
      fourthreezee

      This.

      I’ll go on to add that the number of GM owners on this site (as judged from the number of comments), is causing me to lose faith in the so called ‘B & B’s’ judgement. I just can’t take y’all seriously anymore.

      Come on, after literally decades of crappy cars and corporate malfeasance – anyone who is still buying a Government Motors vehicle is just plain _____ (insert descriptor here).

  • avatar
    Russycle

    3 crashes out of hundreds of thousands of vehicles sold, which could have been avoided by the drivers not banging their knees into the switch, is hardly the making of a deathtrap. I’m not saying GM shouldn’t do better, but this case isn’t that outrageous.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      A reasonable conclusion, beware those that would banish all death at any cost!

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Outrageous or not, once they know of a single crash due to bad design or part, they must recall all cars affected. It’s the world we live in. Never mind GMs current t!t in the wringer!

      But at least drivers know exactly what shut their Camaros OFF, because they did it themselves. The problem is they probably don’t know how to turn it back ON while at speed, if auto trans.

    • 0 avatar
      ktm

      No, the real question is why did they put the ignition key in a location that it could be bumped by someone’s knee in the first place. While it may have only contributed to 3 crashes, it is still 3 crashes due to a faulty design.

      Others may have had their knee bump into the key, have the car turn off, and noting happen. You only hear about the catastrophic incidents though.

      • 0 avatar
        MK

        Because no good human factors design inputs included? Because that ignition been in the same place fer years and that’s how they do it at GM? Because of all the cost-cutting that would cause your car to suck after a few years this was seen as comparatively minor? Because in the million things that can go wrong with an electro/hydraulic/mechanical system this just wasn’t noticed?

        Who knows but some lawyers are going to get very wealthy trying to figure it out.

  • avatar
    Ralph ShpoilShport

    Yea, GM! Yea!

  • avatar
    JGlanton

    I’ve had many cars with key fobs, but not one key fob had a switch that turns off the ignition.

    What am I missing here?

  • avatar
    multicam

    My wife has a 2012 V6 version with manual transmission and I’ve spent a lot of time driving it. This problem, which essentially is an ergonomics problem, does not surprise me in the slightest.

    While there are a number of things I like about the car, the poor ergonomics has always shocked me. Small things like the placement of window controls, awkward placement of the e-brake, or counter-intuitive HVAC controls are minor annoyances, and then there are the bigger problems like the higher-than-Everest belt line which makes for a pillbox-like experience and the bulging ass end of the car.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      The Gen V Camaro is a fabulous exercise of form way way WAY over function…and GM bean counting.

      Zeta was too big of a platform, and suspension hard points were such they couldn’t “lower” the hood and trunk lines.

      As a point on the bean counting, they didn’t even move the battery in the trunk to the passenger side (US) because the Aussie based platform has it on the other side.

      For right drive, battery is “left” side to offset some of drivers weight.


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