Detroit – Jan. 31, 2019 – General Motors is recalling certain 2010-2011 Chevrolet Malibu vehicles, due to a potentially dangerous air bag defect. Up to 1,145 units may be affected by this issue.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Safety Report, in the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the driver frontal air bag, the air bag inflator in these cars may explode due to being overpressurized. If the inflator explodes, sharp metal fragments may strike the driver or other occupants, resulting in serious injury or death.
Timeline of Events
On November 30, 2017, an attorney contacted GM and claimed that on Sept. 22, 2017, the front-driver air bag inflator in a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu ruptured during a crash-related deployment and injured his client.
GM reported the allegation to NHTSA Dec. 6 of the same year in accordance with Standing General Orders 2015-01 and 2015-02. Between Nov. 30, 2017 and Dec. 13, 2018, GM made multiple attempts to locate and inspect the vehicle to confirm whether or not a rupture had occurred. A GM engineer was permitted to inspect the vehicle and components. Based on that examination, GM determined that the front-driver airbag inflator in the subject vehicle likely overpressurized and ruptured during deployment.
On December 19, 2018, GM presented the inspection photos and the other findings of its preliminary analysis to the NHTSA. On Dec. 20, 2018, GM’s Safety Field Action Decision Authority (SFADA) decided to conduct a safety recall on the ARC inflators built in the suspect manufacturing lot. At the time of the initial filing, GM was not aware of other rupture allegations involving this ARC inflator in GM vehicles.
GM has notified owners of these potentially problematic vehicles, and dealers will replace the front driver air bag module for free. Interim notices informing owners of the safety risk were mailed Feb. 8, 2019. Owners will receive a second notice when the remedy becomes available, which is expected to be in late March 2019. Owners may contact GM customer service at 1-800-522-9559. GM’s number for this recall is N182206630. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov. The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V-019000.