A number of General Motors vehicles are under investigation for a possible defect stemming from the automatic gear shift indicator. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened the probe Monday after received reports of the defect.
According to the NHTSA, the indicators may falsely show that the car is in the park position. The NHTSA have received reports from drivers who believed their car was in park, but instead was in drive or reverse. So far, the agency has received seven reports including one where the driver was struck and injured and another where the car reversed and crashed into a building.
The investigation initially targeted 2007 and 2008 Saturn Aura sedans totaling 89,000 units. However, the agency has decided to include 2004 to 2008 Chevy Malibu sedans and 2005 to 2008 Pontiac G6 vehicles because they have similar shifting systems as the Aura; only four-speed automatics are included in the investigation since the six-speed gearbox appears to be unaffected.
The NHTSA states the problem is due to protective jackets that surround the gear shift cables. The jackets may be prone to premature wear exposing the cables to the elements putting them at risk for corrosion. The corroded and weakened cable then affects the gear shift indicator causing it to point to the wrong gear. The investigation will study the cables further and look into how many more vehicles are affected.
GM has also received similar reports from customers and is cooperating with the investigation. The automaker has also offered to start repairing faulty cables free of charge and will reimburse anyone who has already had the work done to their vehicles.
Source: The Washington Post, NHTSA