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Recalled Camaro Owners Want to Keep Their Switchblades

General Motors recently announced a recall of every 5th generation Chevrolet Camaro to replace the switchblade style key fob, but in reading all over the internet and in speaking with some Camaro owners it is very clear that many owners want to keep their key fobs – even if they go through with the recall repairs.

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General Motors made the decision to recall every single 5th generation Chevrolet Camaro (2010-present) after discovering that if you hit the ignition key with your knee hard enough and in the right way, it can turn the key out of the run position. Having a car shut off suddenly and lose power can also reduce the effectiveness of the power brakes and power steering system – all of which increase the likelihood of a crash.

The Camaro Switchblade Key is the Problem
The 5th gen Camaro uses a switchblade key design where the actual metal ignition key folds into the rectangular key fob and with the push of a button, the key snaps into the locked position. Unfortunately, this connected fob design creates a large target for the driver’s knee and when hit the right way, it can shut the engine off while driving. Although it is a very slim chance of happening, it is another ignition risk that GM doesn’t want to face so they are recalling these cars to replace the key design.

Instead of the switchblade design, the dealership will likely issue a normal key that will connect to a separate fob via a keychain loop. This design will make it nearly impossible to turn off the key with your knee, although the proposed fix doesn’t pack the same “cool factor” as the switchblade key. I have driven plenty of General Motors vehicles in the past few years with a similar switchblade key design and it is a neat design. It isn’t really functionally better, but it is one of those little things that add to the total package.

If I owned a 5th gen Camaro, I would prefer the switchblade fob…and I’m not alone. Although some owners look forward to a new ignition key due to wear and tear on their switchblade key fob, many don’t want to hand over both of their key fobs since the switchblade is technically the proper key for a 2010-2014 Camaro.

GM Can’t Make You Trade Your Keys, But…
I have been reading tons of comments by 5th gen Chevrolet Camaro owners over the past two weeks where owners are stating very clearly that when the time comes to have their car serviced under this key fob recall, they will not take in both of their switchblade keys. Many of them plan to tell the dealership that they lost the other key so that after they get their new key and fob, they will still have a copy of the original switchblade key for their Camaro. Realistically, there is nothing that GM can do to force you to hand over both keys…mostly because people lose stuff.

However, General Motors can and almost certainly will make sure that the switchblade key fobs don’t work in the Chevrolet Camaro coupes and convertibles that are serviced under this recall. In much the same way that a dealership recodes a vehicle for new keys, I expect that dealerships will reprogram the ignition system so that only the keys issued at the time of the recall service will work going forward. GM cannot force you to turn in both keys, but they can make sure that the key that you keep won’t work anymore.

Now, there is the possibility that General Motors will recognize the owners’ desires to keep their original key fobs so perhaps they will just make it so that they cannot work, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the dealership tries to keep the switchblade, or at least breaks the ignition key portion off to guarantee that the owner won’t try using it. If that is the case, the only way to keep your original key might be to “lose it” before having the work done – but that will likely cause them to only give you one new key for free.

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larryc7777 (not verified)    July 10, 2014 - 3:01AM

I'm confused, why not just tell the dealership that you don't want the recall done on YOUR vehicle. Unless Chevrolet wants to take over your payments, I would guess that the owner has the right to just say NO.

Christopher Adams (not verified)    July 27, 2014 - 1:43AM

In reply to by larryc7777 (not verified)

Hello Larry, I just got back from the dealership with my camaro and there solution is to snap the key off the flob, and give you a plain old key, I then told the service dept, pay me 39,850 dollars and then you can take the repair for yourself

Jerry2011SS (not verified)    July 10, 2014 - 8:50PM

How uncareful do you have to be to hit your knee on the key? I am 6'3" and couldn't hit the key with my knee if I tried. I will tell the dealer to leave my keys alone or they wont get to work on it. VW and other vehicle manufacturers use the same design, how is it that their vehicles don't do the same thing??? Just because a few stupid people somehow hit their knee on the key and turned the ignition off I no reason to recall all Gen5 cars. Sounds a bit like my dog ate my homework ;) or the IRS computers of certain people under investigation crashed ;)

Jishmael (not verified)    April 15, 2015 - 10:38AM

In reply to by Jerry2011SS (not verified)

I own the 2010 Camaro and my son who is 6'4 was driving it, thankfully slow, around a corner and hit the ignition with his knee/leg and the car turned off. So it is possible. Otherwise I would have kept the switchblade keys.

Karl (not verified)    February 5, 2016 - 7:24PM

In reply to by Jerry2011SS (not verified)

There full of crap I bought a 2012 camaro ss from a dealership they changed the key to disabled the fob I got the new key hanging from the fob don't like it swinging took the original key put it in a vice heat the plastic end up and pull the metal part out went to a Napa auto parts picked a very small roll pin and put the original key back in key fob so it's all original from factory they never reprogrammed the fob and it works perfect

Rie (not verified)    August 6, 2023 - 10:39PM

In reply to by Jerry2011SS (not verified)

I'm keeping mine. And I've never known anybody of any height (or shortness) or width that have ever, ever accidentally bumped this. I can't even see how it is possible. It's not even logical.

steveo (not verified)    July 11, 2014 - 11:44AM

With less than 100 miles on my new Camaro, and the "Key Bob" fix in hand, my car has died twice. Why can't Chevy fix the real issue, that would be the ignition key tumbler so it will not "fall out of run mode" so easily. You can bet there will be a lawsuit if my wife is involved in an accident and their fix was to eliminate the Bob!!!!

Ron (not verified)    September 4, 2014 - 7:38PM

In reply to by steveo (not verified)

I think you are a lying troll
I have never had the ignition tumbler fall out of the run position
I have had my Camaro for 18 months and am 6'1"
When I heard about the recall I tried to bump the ignition off with my knee and was unable to

Lee (not verified)    July 11, 2014 - 2:41PM

I like my key. It doesn't scratch stuff in my pocket or wear a hole in the fabric. I'm 6'3' and clumsy and my knee has never touched the key. Why not just ignore the recall?

Brenda (not verified)    August 4, 2014 - 8:17PM

I took my Camaro to the dealer today. They have told me twice that on the Camaro's you have an option . You don't have to have the keys redone if you don't want to. It is up to the owner. Its a recall. Im having it done. This option is only for the Camaro's. They told me everything will function the same with the different keys. I will know when I pick it up tomorrow.

James Haun (not verified)    September 26, 2014 - 2:32PM

GM, in my opinion, is going cheap and not fixing the issue. The new key DOES NOT prevent your knee or anything else from turning off the vehicle. Also, all reports state that the problem is the ignition switch. Therefore, GM needs to replace the ignition switch. I called GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and was told to do the following. If you agree, we can all make this happen by sharing this information on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. We must submit our complaints in writing to:

General Motors
P.O. BOX 33170
Detroit, MI 48232
Fax: 866.962.2869

U.S Department of Transportation
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Office of Defects Investigation (NVS-210)
1200 New Jersey Ave. SE
West Building
Washington D.C. 20590

You may call the NHTSA at 1.888.327.4236. They will give you a Reference # on your call which you may use in your letter, but the complaints must be in writing. Let's get GM to fix the real problem.

Rod Stanford (not verified)    September 29, 2014 - 8:39AM

We took our Camaro in for a service engine light. The dealership drilled out our key fob at the switch blade and pulled the key out and gave us another key and the switch blade back without the key in it. GM This is a tacky jury rigged fix. I buy a $38k car and you do this to me? I will never ever buy another GM again. This is such a tacky fix. I didn't want it, you didn't explain it, you just did it. The least you could have done was but a blank in the position and glued it shut now I have a switch blade key fobs with a big pocket lint collector. :(

Jeremy (not verified)    November 10, 2014 - 11:34PM

I have turned my Camaro off twice, but admit that the problem only occurred due to the bottle opener attached to the fob. Easy fix: remove all items attached to the fob. No more problem.

It seems to me the problem is the orientation of the key in the fob: instead of being oriented like a normal key, the part that goes into the ignition is perpendicular to the "flat" fob. This makes it quite easy to accidentally turn off the car. With a normally oriented key, it's almost impossible to turn off the car accidentally: thus the fix ... a regular key. I have neither read not heard of any problem with the Camaro's ignition even though ignition problems plague other Chevy models.

Having said that, come on! Here we have "bailed out" company GM who cannot afford to replace our switchblade keys with a "normally oriented" switchblade key, on any car, not just the $40,000 Camaros. ??? Ford didn't take bailout money, apparently have a better QA department, and don't go cheapass on something they could easily repair while flipping their customers the bird! I understand others' inclination to trade their Chevy's for other manufacturers: this "fix" is insulting.

Jode Pinkston (not verified)    November 21, 2014 - 10:15PM

I hate this new key, embarrassing piece of crap. I thought something with ignition was going to be fixed...not screwing my key fob up! I'm formally going to complain- their vehicles are not cheap,but they always try to do a cheap fix! When u gonna get with keyless buttons like Nissan and others? I'm soooo pissed off and thinking about trading car off- this Is how American's fix problems? Half ass???? Makes me sick

Sheila (not verified)    November 28, 2014 - 5:46PM

In reply to by Jode Pinkston (not verified)

I totally agree with you... They should install push button ignitions... My gosh, the new Ford Mustang even has keyless start button now...and I hate to say it but the new Mustang seats are alot more comfortable than in my Camaro...and no rumble??? C'mon Chevy you're lagging in the upgrades department!!! I'm disappointed!!

kenneth morrison (not verified)    December 22, 2016 - 1:41PM

In reply to by Jode Pinkston (not verified)

I agree wholeheartedly! The GM dealership never told me that they were going to hack off my key from the fob.and put two keys on the key ring. Looks stupid, like my key fob is broken. GM has reached an all time low. In fact, GM dealer service is so bad that I have my Camaro serviced by my Nissan dealer where I get excellent service and no BS. I only go to the GM dealer when I have to...However I have the last laugh; I only gave them one fob to ruin!!! I have an original key which works fine and the hacked fob and keys in case I want to trade my 2011 RS in for a newer model...I win:)

Smart Ass (not verified)    December 29, 2018 - 9:30PM

In reply to by Jode Pinkston (not verified)

To the person who blames all Americans for the Camaro Key " Fob" not "Bob" fix. How is it you can blame ALL Americans for this problem? I am a retired General Motors proud employee and I am an American. But I was not in the electrical part of car building and I take offense to your claim that I should be held responsible for this problem. I normally would not comment on the workings of the current General Motors Administration but when as an American I am offended I will bark and may even bite back!

Robert (not verified)    December 13, 2014 - 6:33AM

GM is a cheapass company with cheapass cars. Don't get me wrong, I think the Gen 5 Camaro is still the best looking car out there right now. I love driving the car. It's rock solid on an abandoned highway at 120+, and corners like a tron lightcycle, although I haven't tried both at the same time yet.

That being said, I have a 2013 Camaro, and a 2011 F150. Guess which is more comfortable? When I start the F150 remotely, it senses the outside air temp and will heat or cool the truck to a comfortable temperature whether I had the fans on or not on the last ride. It decides for me if I need the heated seats on, or if it's hot, it will turn on the AC and Seat coolers. Yes, COOLERS. Not just vents, but peltier style electric coolers. The dashboard info screen is a high res full color screen with a lot of information displays. I can customize the truck down to whether or not it does a courtesy wipe. (seriously. that's what it's called, it wipes the windshield one more time when you turn off the wiper delay function) The Camaro gets fairly hot in the seats after a while, not even venting in them. If I'm going to remote start it, I need to be sure to set the AC to what I think it will need later on. Why could Ford put heated and cooled seats, color dashboard screens, and intelligent AC in the truck two years before GM was able to put well, NONE of those in the Camaro?

I feel like I had the Android when I bought the truck, and the Camaro is the iPhone. I guess I have to keep trading in the Camaro for a few years just to catch up to the older truck.

But hey, at least it's good looking. As long as you don't look at my stupid keyfob with the open hole on the side.

White Camaro (not verified)    January 4, 2015 - 3:06PM

I have a 2011 Camaro RS SS . My solution, based on what I am reading.... I don't believe I will ever have my Camaro serviced at Chevrolet or any GM, anymore. Its a bummer.... but I can't take the chance that they will re-program my Camaro with a different key. The alternative is that I just trade it in for a Ford Mustang GT or Dodge Challenger Scat Pack R/T. This is very tough for me ! I've been driving Camaros ( and Suburbans.. have a family now) since 1983. I have a 2007 Suburban too... and a 1968 Camaro... but all this is really upsetting. A loyal GM guy.. and I read this !

Confused (not verified)    January 28, 2015 - 6:20PM

I don't understand if this style of key fob is so bad, why does my friends new Impala have an identical key?

Chad Cook (not verified)    May 1, 2015 - 11:40AM

I owned a 2010 SS for 3 years and then traded it in for a new 2013. I've had the 2013 for 2 years now. 5 years total between both cars and I never had a problem with a shut-off. My dealer service manager explained the recall and I declined to have it done. (Off the record, he told me he agreed)

So i'll be keeping my switchblade fob :)

Steve Y (not verified)    May 14, 2015 - 7:25PM

To the guy who thinks the switch should be changed and is whining to NHTSA etc. You apparently don't know the difference between a Cobalt and a Camaro. The Camaro doesn't have a bad switch. The layout of the car is such that it is possible in some rare circumstance that the key could be rotated unintentionally... so they are dumbing down all our cars to "protect" us. By the way, the customer can decline a recall. It's that easy. I just bought a Camaro that had the neutered key fob. Buy two blank key blades for cheap and reinstall them. They are held in with a tiny roll pin. Have them cut and you're done! Easy.

Desmond Bartley (not verified)    May 20, 2015 - 1:51PM

Brought my 2010 camaro to do the recall ever since then my fob no longer open my doors and the two keys they gave me won't open my door neither will they start my car in one position. It was the worst mistake I made buying a car from these assholes. I brought the car back explaining the problems I have and there answer is that the key fob is for chevy Cruze instead of my car, I don't have a chevy Cruze I couldn't have misplaced my keys they stated they didn't do anything to it but now I can't open or close my car and they are telling me I have to buy another key fob and that it was my fault the key not working.

I called Gm about the problem and they told me the dealer is always right and that they think am lying about the key and that the dealer I bought the car from didn't give me the right key so I should go back to the dealer.. Lol this key fob is the only key fob I had and before I remember instances where I would be driving and without touching the key the car would shut off and take time to start I had to remove the key a few times for it to start the problem is not a fob issue its a key switch problem.

Todd B. (not verified)    September 7, 2015 - 1:03AM

i won't let them perform the recall in the substandard way they have elected. It's a copout. If GM wante to take a valuable piece from my Camaro then they can replace with push button. Start and do away with the switch totally.

TheyMessedUp (not verified)    November 21, 2015 - 8:40PM

They just did this to my friend after he bought his. They do it at servicing. They drove the car up after his first service, told him to wait just a minute, went into a back room, and came out 5minutes later and handed him the key and service report. We got in the car and it wouldn't start. He got out and the remote buttons didn't work either. They didn't admit to doing anything but offered to replace the entire ignition system and key for $1500. They said he was liable bc he signed a waiver when he bought it. He had no choice. The car wouldn't start. They did something to both the key and the remote and made him pay....really screwed up, he's suing them for damages.