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GM Recalls Saturns, Buicks, and Chevys Due to Brake & Gear Shift Problems

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Imagine you park your car, get out, and the car rolls away.

That’s what may happen if you own one of the 56,000 Saturn Aura sedans General Motors (GM) recalled May 6, 2014. Two days later, they recalled about 8,600 other cars—Buicks and Chevrolets with potential brake problems.

This, after the company recalled over 2.6 million vehicles to fix ignition switch defects that have been linked to at least 13 deaths.

Saturns Recalled Due to Gear Shift Defect

According to CNN, GM is recalling 2007 and 2008 Saturn Aura vehicles because of a defect in the gear shift cable. Sometimes, drivers believe they have put the car in park, but because of a flaw that may incorrectly display the gear in the gear selector, it may not actually be in park.

The defect applies only to cars with four-speed automatic transmissions, and may occur after a break in the gear shift cable, which can happen even while the car is being driven. Once the cable is broken, even if the driver shifts into park, the car may not actually be in park, regardless of what the display shows.

GM states that so far, it is aware of 28 crashes and four injuries related to this issue. There have been no deaths recorded. The company had previously provided extended warranty coverage to help customers deal with the issue, but decided to implement the recall because these warranties are expiring.

Brake Problems May affect Buick LaCross and Chevy Malibu

On May 8th, 2014, GM issued another recall of nearly 8,600 Buick and Chevrolet sedans. Models affected include some 2014 Buick LaCrosses and 2014 Chevy Malibus. Installation may have been incorrect on the rear brake rotors, which could cause the front brake pads to wear out more quickly, potentially increasing crash risk.

Those car owners who may be affected by the recall will receive a letter from GM detailing the issue.

GM Took Too Long to Respond to Ignition Switch Problem

GM took action regarding the ignition switch defect far later than they should have, according to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is currently investigating the issue. According to evidence the automaker submitted to the NHTSA, the company knew of the potential problems with the ignition switch as far back as 2004. The Chevy Cobalt, for example, was one of the first cars that lost power when the key shifted out of the run position seemingly on its own. That left the power off, potentially endangering passengers.

The defect has been linked with 13 deaths and 31 crashes. In each case, the ignition moved out of the run position, shutting off power-steering assist and power-assisted brakes, as well as disengaging the air bags so they would not deploy during an accident.

GM has previously told owners to decrease the risk of an ignition switch problem by removing all other items from the key ring. They continue to state this advice on their current website, telling drivers to take this precaution until they are able to get their vehicles in for repairs.

Meanwhile, several plaintiffs have filed personal injury lawsuits against the company, stating they failed to warn of the risks concerning the switch, putting people at unnecessary risk.