GM recalls multiple models for faulty airbag warning light

Warren, MI – July 1, 2021 – General Motors (NYSE:GM) has issued a recall for 285,622 cars and SUVs over a concern that the airbag malfunction indicator may fail to warn the driver if there is a problem with the airbag, increasing the risk of an injury in a crash. The models that are part of the recall are:

  • 2021 Buick Envision
  • 2021 Cadillac CT4
  • 2021 Cadillac CT5
  • 2021 Cadillac Escalade
  • 2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV
  • 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2021 Chevrolet Corvette 
  • 2021 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2021 GMC Yukon
  • 2021 GMC Yukon XL

The affected part is the Serial Data Gateway Module (SDM) – a gateway that handles the multiple networks in a vehicle – with part number 13542878. It is not clear if the 2021 Corvette Stingray is part of this recall.

Recall summary

The root of the problem is with the GM SDM Programming; specifically, a software issue that causes the airbag sensor to inconsistently illuminate the airbag malfunction indicator light. As a result, the driver may think his or her airbag is working properly when it is not and this could result in inadequate protection in the event of a collision.


An airbag is meant to protect the occupant from an upper-body injury and frontal airbags have saved over 50,000 lives in the last 30 years. An airbag that does not deploy in the event of a crash can result in serious injury or even death.

Related complaints

In April 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched an investigation over reports concerning airbag malfunctions in General Motor vehicles. Some of the models that are part of this recall were also investigated.

Of 15 complaints submitted to the NHTSA, six mentioned serious crashes where the airbags failed to deploy. Some also mentioned that the warning lights came on “every two to three minutes when driving.”

GM has not commented on whether this recall is a consequence of the investigation.

Other GM recalls

Back in December 2020, General Motors was ordered to recall 5.9 million cars with Takata airbags that may rupture when deployed.  

Other Chevrolet and Buick recalls in the recent past include the January 2021 recall for mid-size sedans over a potential suspension issue.

The repair

The software issue can be resolved with an over-the-air (OTA) update at a dealership. Affected customers will be notified on July 19, 2021.

Is your vehicle part of the recall?

To find out if your vehicle is a part of this GM recall, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Vishal VenugopalGM recalls multiple models for faulty airbag warning light

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