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GM recall: 780,000 vehicles with faulty ignition switches

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(Read caption) In this Thursday, May 5, 2011, file photo, General Motors headquarters are shown in Detroit. A GM recall involves 780,000 vehicles that have a faulty ignition switch, according to the company.

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The Chevrolet Cobalt and the Pontiac G5 were retired years ago, but that doesn't mean they can't be recalled. As proof, a GM recall was announced that affects nearly 780,000 of them to repair faulty ignition switches that have been linked to six fatalities.

According to ABC, the recall affects the 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and the 2007 Pontiac G5. Those vehicles have an ignition switch that can, under certain circumstances, shut off the engine while the vehicle is in motion, dramatically increasing the risk of an accident. The shut off can be triggered in a number of ways -- for example, by a heavy keychain or by travel over rough roads. 

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Making things worse, of course, is the fact that when the engine goes, so do power-assisted steering and braking. And as if that weren't bad enough, GM reports that when vehicles crash under such conditions, their airbags may not deploy.

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Since May of 2013, GM has received reports of 22 crashes related to the ignition switch problem. Five of those -- all front-end collisions -- resulted in six deaths. However, the automaker was unable to pinpoint the cause of the shut-offs until recently.

The GM recall affects 619,000 vehicles registered in the U.S., 153,000 in Canada, and 6,000 in Mexico. Of that total, 745,000 are Chevrolet Cobalts, with the rest being Pontiac G5s. 

General Motors hasn't announced when the recall will officially begin, but the company is urging owners of the affected vehicles to lighten their keychains by removing any nonessential items. Once the GM recall begins in earnest, owners will receive notification by mail, after which they'll be able to take their vehicle to a local dealer, who will replace the ignition switch, free of charge. 

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