General Motors is recalling nearly 474,000 Chevrolet, Pontiac and Saturn cars to fix a transmission problem. The recall affects the GM 2007-2010 Malibus, G6s and Auras in the U.S., Canada and Mexico as well as a small number of exports.
The company says part of the transmission cables can break. That can cause the shifter to show that the car is in park when it’s really in gear. The automaker says it knows of four crashes from the problem but no injuries.
Dealers will put a retainer over the end of the cables or replace them. Owners will be told by letter when to set up appointments with dealers.
The problem was discovered as GM gathered data for a U.S. government investigation of a similar problem with transmission cables on the same cars.
Company spokesman Alan Adler said that as part of the recall, dealers will put retainer covers over both ends of the cables to fix both problems. In some cases, the whole cable will have to be replaced.
The government began investigating the cars last year after getting reports of seven crashes and one injury.
In March of 2009, GM recalled about 277,000 vehicles for a similar shift lever problem.
At that time the recall involved 2009 model year versions of the Buick Enclave; Chevrolet Cobalt, HHR, Malibu and Traverse; GMC Acadia; Pontiac G5 and G6; and the Saturn Aura and Outlook. Only 75,000 of the vehicles had been sold, with the rest still at dealerships.
Last month, the automaker recalled 38,000 Chevrolet Impala police cars in the United States and Canada because of cracks in the front suspension that could result in a crash.
The lower control arm in the suspension can fracture, causing sudden changes in handling that could make the driver lose control, the company said.