Laguna Hills, CA – November 27, 2018 – General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling certain 2019 Buick Encore, Chevrolet Spark, Traverse, and Trax vehicles due to a potential air bag deployment issue. The potential number of units affected is 12.
According to the NHTSA Recall Safety Report, in a small number of the listed vehicles, the sensing diagnostic module (SDM) may have been left in “manufacturing mode” and not activated at the assembly plant prior to shipment. If the SDM is in manufacturing mode, the vehicle’s airbags will not deploy in a crash, increasing the risk of occupant injury. Most other functions controlled by the same module, such as seatbelt reminder, event data recording and post collision notification, will also be inactive. Drivers may receive advance notice of this issue via the airbag/supplemental inflatable restraint malfunction indicator lamp on the instrument panel, which will illuminate and remain illuminated (solid or flashing) after the vehicle is turned on.
Timeline of Events
On October 3, 2018, a vehicle in GM’s Bupyeong, Korea plant was discovered to have a flashing airbag warning light after passing validation testing. GM subsequently started an investigation into the issue, which determined that the vehicle’s sensing and diagnostic module (SDM) was set to “manufacturing mode;” when in this setting, the SDM is unarmed and the supplemental inflatable restraints are disabled.
GM further determined that the condition’s root cause is an error in a software update to GM’s production process at certain plants. When the module is originally programmed during vehicle assembly, GM sets it to manufacturing mode which is designed to prevent accidental restraint and air bag deployment when the vehicle is in the assembly facility. Once full assembly is complete, all GM vehicles are subjected to a series of quality tests called dynamic vehicle tests (DVT), and at the conclusion of this process, the vehicle’s sensing diagnostic module (SDMs) is activated, which arms the restraints.
The error which was discovered in the software update can prevent the SDM from being activated in some vehicles at the conclusion of DVT. Due to this error, which only affected 12 vehicles, on October 25, 2018, GM’s Safety Field Action Decision Authority (SFADA) decided to conduct a safety recall.
GM will notify owners, and dealers will reprogram the SDM module to the correct mode, free of charge. The recall began November 6, 2018. Owners may contact Buick customer service at 1-800-521-7300 and Chevrolet customer service at 1-800-222-1020. GM’s number for this recall is 18365. Owners may also call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153). The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 18V-774.