FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – In light of the recent GM recall, NewsChannel 15 wanted to figure out if heavy keychains are a problem for other vehicles. It turns out they can cause issues for any make and model. Jim Mickelini has been the service manager of Preferred Automotive for ten years. He said the majority of his customers do not know heavy keychains can cause issues.
“There’s not enough awareness. We’ve only seen it because I’ve done it for close to 30 years. I tell most of my customers as soon as they bring the cars in and I pull their keys out to write their car up- ‘Hey, you can’t do this, it’s way too much weight,” said Mickelini.
There isn’t a magic number in terms of how much the keychain should weigh. Rather, it’s an amount of items that should be included. Mickelini recommends only using the vehicle key and remote fob. Any other items should be removed from the keychain.
“This situation can affect any make and model or car and any sort of key that you have on it. We just want people to be out there and be safe. We see all kinds of cars come in here- Dodge, Chrysler, Pontiac, Ford. Yes, all the ignition switches in a sense are the same kind of design and yes, that extreme weight could cause problems with those ignition switches down the road.”
It could take years for a driver to notice any sort of problem, so it’s best to just take precautions immediately by downsizing the keychains. Drivers who notice tightness or the key locking in the ignition should take it to a dealer.
“We probably see one or two a week where we end up replacing the ignition switches. Our biggest concern that we’ve seen is that the key not going into the ignition switch properly or not being able to turn the car on as easy as they should,” said Mickelini.
When keys are weighed down with other items like house keys, work keys, and other keychains and unneccesary add-ons, it wears out the tumblers in the ignition switch. Over time, this can make it nearly impossible to turn the key in the switch or even get it to fit in at all. That problem can lead to a costly repair.
“Different prices are different models, naturally, but it can be anywhere from $200 to $300,” said Mickelini.
There is good news, though. The expense can be avoided with a simple fix.
“Use a quick release. Only have the key in the ignition switch on your keychain. Use a quick release for all of your other keys- work keys, office keys and just don’t have them on that key in your ignition switch when your driving your vehicle at all.” said Mickelini.
Quick-release keychains allow drivers to keep all additional items on a separate keychain and then easily remove them while driving. They’re offered at most retail stores and local dealerships.