GM recalls vehicles with defective air bags

Warren, Mich. – Nov. 9, 2017 – General Motors has recalled more than one-dozen vehicles potentially equipped with defective air bag assemblies, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects multiple models across two brands, including:

  • 2015-2016 Chevrolet Colorado pickup tucks produced between Oct. 10, 2014 and Feb. 6, 2016.
  • 2016 Chevrolet Volt electric sedans produced between Oct. 16 and Dec. 14, 2015.
  • 2015-2016 GMC Canyon pickup trucks produced between Oct. 13, 2014 and Aug. 2, 2015.

GM suspects that all of the vehicles referenced in this recall contain the defect components.

The Defect

Affected vehicles include driver-side front air bag assemblies with second-stage inflators that may malfunction upon deployment, thus failing to completely fill the corresponding air bags or do so within the regulated time span. This poses a serious risk to drivers involved in collisions, as they are less protected and therefore more likely to sustain injuries upon impact. However, GM has yet to receive reports connecting the defective air bag assemblies to any injuries or accidents.

Timeline of Events

In March 2016, GM recalled more than 1,500 vehicles after its air bag supplier, Key Safety Systems, discovered that some of its shipped frontal air bag assemblies failed to meet cold-weather fill-time requirements, according to an NHTSA Safety Recall Report. Specifically, these fixtures came equipped with second-stage inflators without the chemical mixture required to effectively facilitate deployment and fill frontal air bags as much or as quickly as required by law.

In the months following the March 2016 recall, KSS evaluated its inflators to determine whether mistakes were made during assembly or problems developed due to long-term vehicle use. During this analysis, the parts provider discovered another batch of defective filters that had been shipped to GM and installed in vehicles not referenced in the March 2016 action. KSS notified GM of the issue May 4, 2017. Approximately six days later, the automaker opened an internal investigation to better understand the problem.

Over the next four months, GM and KSS worked together to analyze the filters received during the March 2016 recall. This data allowed KSS to improve the accuracy of its existing strategy for detecting incorrectly assembled inflators, which involved the evaluation of component weight. The parts provider used this methodology to find defective inflators installed in non-recalled GM vehicles.

With this new information in hand, the GM Safety and Field Action Decision Authority elected to issue a voluntary safety recall Sept. 28. The car manufacturer notified dealers Oct. 5.

The Solution

GM has directed dealers to replace the driver-side frontal air bag assemblies in affected models free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgment document. The automaker plans to notify owners via first-class mail Dec. 4. Those in need of more immediate assistance can contact Chevrolet customer service at (800) 222-1020 or GMC customer service at (800) 462-8782. Callers should use the internal GM recall identification number 17387. Owners can also reach out the NHTSA directly using its toll-free Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

Nate GouldsbroughGM recalls vehicles with defective air bags

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