Is Pocket Lint the Cause?

ignition
chevrolet
equinox

#1

I am requesting that someone consider assisting to an ongoing dispute I am having with Chevy in regards to the cause of a locked ignition cylinder on my wife?s 2008 Equinox, which inexplicably would not turn on on a Staurday.

Once the car was towed in and was repaired on Monday I learned the dealer had to drill out the ignition cylinder and replace it and performsome magical mubo jumbo to reprogram it. They did give me my same key though. Hmmm?

It appears Chevy Customer Assitance on the advice of the dealer mechanic who serviced the car have reached an agreement on the cause of the locked ignition cylinder - pocket lint!

Apparently this mystery lint ‘gummed’ up the lock.

I on the other hand am pretty skeptical of their diagnosis and am sure there are some important clues which they may have missed in their (ahem) guess as to the actual cause of the defect.

Clue 1- The keys resided in my wives purse and not my pocket (the actual makeup of her purse interior is a mystery and even I wouldn’t go there).

Clue 2- On the morning that the incident occurred I really believe that no pocket lint landed on the key nor do I recall using the key as an impromptu ear swab and so ear wax is also not a likely source.

Clue 3- Jason, the nice fellow at the Chevy Customer Satisfaction Center who relayed the lint concept to me was unaware of any Transportation Safety Bulletin (TSB) on lint.

He was also unimpressed as to the likelihood that my problem could have on the potential for one of the largest recall risks in automobile history due to the improbable number of pockets from which lint can be introduced into any number of similar vehicle ignitions.

I even offered to run the statistical analysis for him since I am an industrial hygienist
and even the smallest risk engages us for a living. Consider how we explain the hazrds of mold to hapless mechanics for example.

Having reached the plateau of the forensic (dispute resolution) science on the matter, I am turning to the public for some assistance as Jason at the Chevy Customer Assistance Center, the dealer and mechanic were unaware of your able help, and had stated they had never listened to Car Talk before.

I?m sure the entire GM family including Chevrolet would be glad, as they have in the past to receive anything free (including your two cents) for the resolution.


#2

While you’re soul surfing, how about learning to separate paragraphs to make your post easier to read?

Many here will skip over it because it’s all jumbled together.

How will that help you?

I’ve been carrying car keys in my pocket for more than 40 years and have never had a problem with an ignition switch jammed by pocket lint.

The possibility of pocket lint causing a problem with the ignition switch sounds like total BS to me.

If pocket lint could jam ignition switches, why wouldn’t it happen to at least thousands, if not millions, of people (mostly men) around the world every day?

You didn’t describe the details of the “locked ignition cylinder.” Perhaps more detail would be helpful.


#3

I think that you meant to send an email to Tom & Ray. This isn’t where you do that. This is a discussion board where you won’t get Tom & Ray - just a bunch of people talking about cars.

And like mcparadise said, I actually barely read the post b/c it makes my eyes swim & starts to give me a headache.


#4

Pocket lint? Like the others said, Chevy would have millions of problem cars if that’s the case.

And don’t ever put your personal info (cell#) on line.


#5

You can count this as one more vote for the lint theory being bogus.

I also concur that you won’t get many responses as a result of the formatting of your post.


#6

Complete and utter hogwash. They’re trying to get out of warranty coverage. Don’t let them get away with it.


#7

I am requesting that someone consider assisting to an ongoing dispute I am having with Chevy in regards to the cause of a locked ignition cylinder on my wife?s 2008 Equinox, which inexplicably would not turn on on a Staurday.

Once the car was towed in and was repaired on Monday I learned the dealer had to drill out the ignition cylinder and replace it and performsome magical mubo jumbo to reprogram it. They did give me my same key though. Hmmm?

It appears Chevy Customer Assitance on the advice of the dealer mechanic who serviced the car have reached an agreement on the cause of the locked ignition cylinder - pocket lint!

Apparently this mystery lint ‘gummed’ up the lock.

I on the other hand am pretty skeptical of their diagnosis and am sure there are some important clues which they may have missed in their (ahem) guess as to the actual cause of the defect.

Clue 1- The keys resided in my wives purse and not my pocket (the actual makeup of her purse interior is a mystery and even I wouldn’t go there).

Clue 2- On the morning that the incident occurred I really believe that no pocket lint landed on the key nor do I recall using the key as an impromptu ear swab and so ear wax is also not a likely source.

Clue 3- Jason, the nice fellow at the Chevy Customer Satisfaction Center who relayed the lint concept to me was unaware of any Transportation Safety Bulletin (TSB) on lint.

He was also unimpressed as to the likelihood that my problem could have on the potential for one of the largest recall risks in automobile history due to the improbable number of pockets from which lint can be introduced into any number of similar vehicle ignitions.

I even offered to run the statistical analysis for him since I am an industrial hygienist
and even the smallest risk engages us for a living. Consider how we explain the hazrds of mold to hapless mechanics for example.

Having reached the plateau of the forensic (dispute resolution) science on the matter, I am turning to the public for some assistance as Jason at the Chevy Customer Assistance Center, the dealer and mechanic were unaware of your able help, and had stated they had never listened to Car Talk before.

I?m sure the entire GM family including Chevrolet would be glad, as they have in the past to receive anything free (including your two cents) for the resolution.


#8

I am overwelmed by the groundswell of public sentiment on the issue.

I also reformatted at your suggestion and reposted.

Thanks.


#9

“pocket lint” is a generic term, stop nit-picking.

AND would not be a one time occurrance but a build up over time.

AND purses are worse for residue than pockets, a mystery to you but you should go there.


#10

The ignition cyl. should not have gone out in less than 3 years, except for under severe abuse. Pocket lint is not severe abuse, and I do agree this is BS and is just the dealer trying to get out of a warranty repair. Keep going up the chain with this.


#11

Once the car was towed in and was repaired on Monday I learned the dealer had to drill out the ignition cylinder and replace it

Bolsheviks! No drilling would ever be required to remove a lock cylinder, regardless of its operational condition.

They did give me my same key though. Hmmm?

Locks are easily re-keyed to match existing. Its only a series of pins that need to be swapped to match the old key’s profile. Think of the trouble you would have if it couldn’t be done. You’d either have to have two keys or also have to change all of the other locks to match the new key.

No matter what, lint is a lame excuse and an unlikely cause.


#12

Thank you.

Is there a reason you believe as to why the Onstar didn’t signal us for the car as being locked out?


#13

You came here asking for something specific, assistance making your case to resolve a dispute. I find that these discussions usually don’t end up being what the original poster expected. You will find people who concur with your assessment, those who don’t, and those who are neutral, but I doubt you will find satisfaction.

The whole “pocket lint” explanation seems to fall short in my opinion, but it isn’t entirely implausible. I think the best way you can make your case is to disprove the dealership’s theory, but how do you prove a negative? It’s a tall order. Is there more than one driver of this car? Do you have small children who might have shoved something in there? Could this have been the result of a botched theft attempt? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes” or “it’s possible,” you would have a hard eliminating these factors in order make a strong case.

Have you ever pulled your keys out of your pocket or your purse and see lint on one of the keys? Probably not, but I have. Fortunately, I removed the lint before inserting the key in the lock.

I wouldn’t blame GM for this. They are going on the information given to them by the dealership. Your beef should be with the dealership. I think the best thing you can do right now is pay the bill and get your car back. After that, you have the option of going to another mechanic for an opinion and possibly taking the dealership to small claims court, or just never going back to that dealership (or one owned by the same company) ever again.

EDIT: Did the dealership call you to get authorization to do this repair after they diagnosed the problem? If my mechanic said to me over the phone, “The problem is lint in the key hole.” I would have said, “Stop what you are doing, and don’t lay another hand on the car. I will be there in 10 minutes to see this for myself.” Perhaps that is the lesson you can take from this. Anytime my mechanic says something that sounds fishy to me, I say “Show me what you are talking about.”


#14

Hmmm…Maybe there is also lint in the Onstar module?
;-))


#15

Personally I’m not quite so willing to dismiss the pocket lint theory. Having discovered balls of lint and even thread (manufacturing residue) in my own pockets, and having had to clear jammed seatbelt buckles of napkip pieces, I’d want to see the cylinder before dismissing it. Lint can clog up a lock mechanism if it’s sufficiently sized. And I won;t even speculate on the contents of your wife’s purse.


#16

I am totally unimpressed with the lint thing. I suspect it was not the cause, and if it were, then all they should have had to do was use some compressed air to clean it out. Has anyone repaired it?

Am I correct that there is no warranty on this part?

I don’t know why they are using the lint theory. Lint or make-up or most any thing that would commonly find its way into the lock could be the problem.

In the end it makes no difference. You are going to pay for a new cylinder.

BTW you have not tried using WD-40 or some other product to fix it have you? Note: WD-40 is a water displacement, not a lubricant. It can work as a cleaner, but you still need to clean up the WD-40 after you use it.


#17

The “pocket lint” theory is BS. One thing to consider however is that another key may have been used in the ignition and that will really tear them up. It’s very easy to insert the wrong key especially if you carry more than one. This will sometimes cause the original key to catch in the ignition or cause the ignition not to turn. I’ve seen this happen a couple of times. Just a theory.


#18

How many keys are on your keyring? If you have a load of 50 keys and bangles and doo-dads on there, it can eat the ignition by dangling all that weight from it.


#19

I didn’t see anything regarding Onstar in the original post.

Locked out? I thought we were talking about an ignition lock cylinder not a door lock cylinder.

How would Onstar differentiate between a key in the ignition cylinder and purposely not rotated to one that cannot be rotated because it is jammed? I don’t believe Onstar has that capability…


#20

How can you know that with such certainty after hearing only one side of the story and without ever seeing the car?