Warren, MI – August 15, 2021 – General Motors (NYSE:GM) has recalled 410,019 pickup trucks with potentially dangerous airbags embedded in the vehicles’ roof-rails. The airbag inflator might rupture, propelling gas and the inflator’s end-cap into the vehicle at high speeds, which could injure vehicle occupants.
The recall includes:
- 2015 – 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
- 2015 – 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 2500
- 2015 – 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 3500
- 2015 – 2016 GMC Sierra 1500
- 2015 – 2016 GMC Sierra 2500
- 2015 – 2016 GMC Sierra 3500
The affected component is roof rail airbags with multiple part numbers, including 84487867 and 84487868. The bags were manufactured by a successor of Takata, Joyson Safety Systems, in Mexico.
The pickup trucks’ roof rail airbags deploy like “curtains” over the windows to protect vehicle occupants’ heads during a crash. Inflators within these bags do what you expect them to do.
Due to a manufacturing mistake, moisture “was introduced into the [inflator] vessel,” which may result in its corrosion. This may allow compressed gas to escape from the inflator and result in the parts of the inflator hurling themselves into the car occupants, causing injury.
Background of the recall
Initially, GM recalled a smaller group of approximately 9,000 trucks this past November. The automaker expanded the recall in June after it became aware of three additional roof rail airbag inflator ruptures in Florida and Texas. General Motors noted that “thermal cycling” (i.e. very hot days and cool nights) exacerbate the defect, making the inflator more likely to rupture.
If the airbag inflator ruptures and the inflator’s end cap or other parts go flying into the cabin, they could hit vehicle occupants at high speeds, potentially injuring them.
This defect is different from the infamous Takata airbag defect. Takata airbag inflators do not randomly explode. Rather, they deploy “too hard” during a crash, blowing the inflator to pieces that can impale vehicle occupants. The recalled cars’ inflators, on the other hand, explode because the container holding the compressed gas becomes too weak to hold it. This can occur at any time–not just when the airbags are triggered during a crash. Both are dangerous and should be repaired as soon as possible.
Chevrolet and GMC dealers will inspect and, if needed, replace the right- and left-side roof rail airbags for free. Owners will be warned about the recall by mail around August 16 and will receive a second letter once recall repairs become available.
Is your vehicle part of this recall?
Over 410,000 vehicles are included in this Chevrolet and GMC recall. To see if your truck is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.