GM recalls pickups over ignition-switch defect

This 2015 Chevrolet Silverado heavy-duty pickup is one of the models under recall

A month after agreeing to pay $900 million to settle criminal charges arising from an ignition switch defect, General Motors said Friday it will recall about 3,300 large pickup trucks and SUVs for a similar problem.

The trucks have ignition lock gears with an outer diameter that is larger than specifications, making them difficult to turn. The keys can get stuck in the “start” position at high interior temperatures, and if driven that way, they could slip into “accessory” if jostled or the cabin temperature cools, GM said in a statement.

While the truck problem is similar to the Cobalt, Adler says the cause is different. The Cobalt switches didn’t have enough resistance to keep from slipping out of the run position.

Dealers will replace the ignition lock housing.

The problem in light-duty versions of its 2014 Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras, a few heavy-duty version and 2015 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe SUVs, was discovered through a new GM “Speak Up For Safety” program, before any reports of accidents or injuries.

“A company employee driving his own vehicle told other engineers about it and they submitted the ‘Speak Up for Safety’ form,” said GM spokesman Alan Adler.

Explore more:  Amid unrest in Moldova, Nice advises fans not to travel

The program was created last year in response to the recall of about 2.5 million small cars equipped with ignition switches that could be jostled by a driver’s leg from the “on” to the “accessory” position, cutting electrical power to steering, air bags and other functions. The defect, which some engineers knew about in 2003, was linked to 124 deaths.

Employees encouraged to speak up to superiors. There is a process that handles each report and determines the severity of the problem.