General Motors under investigation for airbag failures

Washington, D.C. – April 19, 2021 – The U.S. government’s highway safety regulator is investigating General Motors (NYSE:GM) over reports of airbag malfunction. The investigation cites 15 complaints and covers the following vehicles:

  • 2020 – 2021 Cadillac CT4
  • 2020 – 2021 Cadillac CT5
  • 2020 – 2021 Cadillac Escalade
  • 2020 – 2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV
  • 2020 – 2021 Cadillac XT5
  • 2020 – 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • 2020 – 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 2500
  • 2020 – 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500
  • 2020-2021 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2020 – 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2020 – 2021 GMC Sierra 1500
  • 2020 – 2021 GMC Sierra 2500
  • 2020 – 2021 GMC Sierra 3500
  • 2020 – 2021 GMC Yukon
  • 2020 – 2021 GMC Yukon XL
  • 2020 GMC Sierra Denali
  • 2021 Chevrolet Suburban 1500
  • 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 4500HD
  • 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 5500HD
  • 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 6500HD

Complaints  

Of the 15 complaints consumers submitted to the regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), six mention serious crashes where the airbags failed to deploy, while eight highlight injuries that occurred in connection with the problem.

One complaint from Dayton, Ohio graphically describes the consequences when one driver’s airbag failed to deploy in an accident, resulting in a serious head injury. During the accident, “something hit [the driver’s] face while the “steering wheel airbag” failed to deploy. The driver remembers crawling out of their overturned Cadillac Escalade and being taken to the hospital. Upon being discharged, the person experienced “loss of taste and smell” except for the “smell of brain matter” from “fluid” dripping down their nasal cavity.

Other complaints describe the airbags failing to deploy despite the driver hitting several trees

Cause of the problem

The administration’s investigation points to a bulletin GM posted for dealers and repair shops in March, addressing problems with the airbag warning light. The bulletin blames the problem on “rust particles in the connection terminal interface of the driver airbag inflator.”

However, according a statement obtained by the Associated Press (AP), GM said it was unaware of any airbags failing to deploy due to this problem, adding that its own analysis of the issue found that airbags would still deploy in a crash even if the malfunction light was on.

Warning signs

Some of the complaints describe the airbag and “service safety restraint system” warning lights coming on as often as “every two to three minutes when driving.”

Other GM airbag recalls

GM has recently recalled close to 6 million cars because of potentially lethal Takata airbags that may rupture when deployed. Separately, in April NHTSA launched another investigation after multiple car manufacturers – including GM – recalled airbags that were improperly folded during the installation process and could fail to deploy. The airbags were manufactured by Joyson, a successor of Takata.

It is not clear who produced the GM airbags at the center of the current investigation.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 749,000 vehicles could be recalled as a result of NHTSA’s investigation. To do a GM recall check, bookmark MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool and come back to the site when more details become available.

Rebecca RandGeneral Motors under investigation for airbag failures

General Motors recalls over 33,000 cars over risk of flat tires

Warren, MI – March 11, 2021 – General Motors  (NYSE:GM) has recalled 33,838 vehicles whose tires may rupture out on the road. The recall includes the following models:

  • 2020 Buick Enclave
  • 2020 Cadillac Escalade
  • 2020 Cadillac Escalade ESV
  • 2020 Cadillac XT4
  • 2020 Cadillac XT5
  • 2019-2020 Chevrolet Blazer
  • 2018-2021 Chevrolet Express
  • 2019-2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • 2020 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2020 Chevrolet Traverse
  • 2019-2020 GMC Acadia
  • 2018-2021 GMC Savana
  • 2019-2020 GMC Sierra 1500
  • 2020 GMC Yukon
  • 2020 GMC Yukon XL

Recall summary  

Before being placed in service, tires are “cured,” or given final shape, using a mold and a rubber “bladder.” The tires in question were accidentally cured for longer than necessary, making them prone to rupture and failure.

While the tires are being recalled by GM, they are part of a larger problem with Continental brand tires. This recall expands an earlier GM recall in November 2020 and includes more models that may be equipped with defective tires.

In its turn, Mercedes-Benz has also just announced that it would inspect over 2,500 cars due to the same issue. To read about warning signs that may indicate that the tires are defective, please see the recent article we wrote about that recall.

Risks

The defective tires may suddenly go flat. Additionally, the outer tread – which is the part that touches the road –  could separate from the rest of the tire. Both conditions could cause the driver to lose control of the car and crash.

The repair

GM dealers will inspect and, if necessary,  replace vehicles’ tires for free. Notifications with more information will be sent to owners around April 12.

Recent Chevrolet recalls, GMC recalls

GM recalled nearly 6 million vehicles equipped with potentially dangerous Takata airbags in February. The airbags’ inflators may break apart after a crash and kill or injure the occupants of the car with sharp metal fragments.

The recall spanned several GM brands, including Chevrolet and GMC. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 33,000 vehicles are included in this GM recall. To see if your [type of vehicle] is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandGeneral Motors recalls over 33,000 cars over risk of flat tires

General Motors begins government-ordered Takata airbag recall

Warren, MI – February 15,  2021 – General Motors (NYSE:GM) has begun a series of recalls of nearly 6 million vehicles built with potentially dangerous Takata airbags. This particular recall covers 1,778,128 vehicles, and includes the following models:

  • 2007-2014 Cadillac Escalade
  • 2007-2014 Cadillac Escalade ESV
  • 2007-2013 Cadillac Escalade EXT
  • 2007-2013 Chevrolet Avalanche
  • 2007-2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • 2009-2014 Chevrolet Silverado 2500
  • 2009-2014 Chevrolet Silverado 3500
  • 2007-2014 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2007-2014 Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2007-2013 GMC Sierra 1500
  • 2009-2014 GMC Sierra 2500
  • 2009-2014 GMC Sierra 3500
  • 2007-2014 GMC Yukon
  • 2007-2014 GMC Yukon XL

Recall summary  

The recalled vehicles were built with Takata airbag inflators that, due to damage from moisture, may explode when the airbags are deployed. If the inflator explodes, its metal casing can fragment into shrapnel that could fly into drivers’ and passengers’ bodies, possibly maiming or killing them. This December article explains in more depth why the U.S. government ordered General Motors to recall these vehicles

Repair

Recalled GM vehicles are divided into five priority groups, labeled priority group 6 through priority group 10. Owners of the vehicles in group 6 – whose cars are older and were sold or registered in the hottest parts of the country –  will be notified by mail when repair is available in early March. Consumers in groups 7-10 – that are considered lower risk – will be advised of the recall in late February, but it is not clear when the repair will be available.

However, consumers in both categories may be able to receive a repair earlier by contacting their dealer.

Use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool to see if your car is affected and to connect with an authorized dealership.

All repairs will be free of charge.

Risks

Exploding inflators pose a significant danger to vehicle occupants. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed that Takata inflators have killed at least 18 people in the U.S. and at least nine more abroad. 

You can find some broad recommendations for owners of affected cars – including a list of cars that should NOT be driven – in this article detailing the background of this GM recall.

Other GM airbag inflator recalls

In December, GM recalled Chevy Silverado 1500, 2500 and 3500 trucks, as well as GMC Sierra 2500, 1500 and 3500 pickups whose roof airbag inflators could shoot off an end cap, potentially injuring occupants or distracting them.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 1.7 million vehicles were originally included in this Takata / GM airbag recall. As of April 9, 2021, – the last date information was available – 104,212 airbags had been replaced.  To see if your car still needs to be repaired, use MotorSafety’s free lookup tool.

Note: July 17, 2021

We have noticed a large number of readers are interested in this recall. For that reason, we have updated the number of cars that have been replaced to reflect the most up-to-date information.

Rebecca RandGeneral Motors begins government-ordered Takata airbag recall

General Motors continues recall of heavy duty pickups with faulty seat belts

Warren, MI – January 5, 2021 – General Motors (NYSE:GM) is continuing  a recall of 38,048 heavy-duty trucks that were built with the driver- and front passenger-side seat belt parts meant for other cars. The recall includes the following pickup trucks:

  • 2017-2018 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and 3500
  • 2017-2018 GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500

The name of the affected component is Retractor ASM-F/Seat Belt with part numbers 84253641, 84253686, 84234013 and 84234008.

Recall summary  

The recall concerns the seat belt torsion bars, which help the seat belt hold a passenger during a crash and protect him or her from an upper body injury. The bars a supplier of General Motors (GM) installed in these vehicle models in the seat belt retractors were the wrong size and had not gone through crash testing.  These bars are typically used in “other full-size trucks,” according to GM.

Continuation of the 2017 recall

This is a continuation of a recall that was originally announced in September 2017. A month after starting the original recall GM petitioned the auto industry regulator – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – to be released from going through with the recall, based on the belief that the different seat belt part would be “inconsequential” to safety. 

The regulator disagreed and denied GM’s petition in November 2020. Between fall of 2017 and spring of 2019, the automaker recalled and fixed over 10,000 cars.

Other Chevy Silverado recalls

A different model year of Chevy Silverado 2500 is subject to a recent recall launched on the back of faulty airbag end caps that may fly off and injure or distract the car occupants. 2020-2021 Silverado 2500 and 3500, as well as GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500 trucks, are involved in another seat belt recall, also as reported. The seat belts on these cars may similarly fail to protect the driver and passengers due to being loose.

Risks

A seat belt meant for another car may not work as expected. This can lead to an injury or death for the car’s  driver and passengers.

Read more about seat belt safety in this Chrysler seat belt recall article.

The repair

GM will replace the seat belt retractor with one with the correct size torsion bar, free of charge. GM began notifying owners on December 28, but the repair will not be available until after March 17. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 38,000 vehicles are part of this GM recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandGeneral Motors continues recall of heavy duty pickups with faulty seat belts

General Motors vehicles recalled for seat belt issue

Warren, MI – December 31, 2020 – General Motors (NYSE:GM) has recalled 624,216 vehicles due to a seat belt issue in the front-row center seat. The seat belt may not properly secure the occupant in the seat, increasing the risk of injury in a crash.

The recall includes:

  • 2019-2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 trucks
  • 2019-2021 GMC Sierra 1500 trucks
  • 2021 Chevrolet Suburban SUVs
  • 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs
  • 2021 GMC Yukon XL SUVs
  • 2020-2021 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 trucks
  • 2020-2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 trucks
  • 2020-2021 GMC Sierra 2500 trucks
  • 2020-2021 GMC Sierra 3500 trucks

Recall summary  

Seat belt brackets are designed to secure the seat belt to the seat frame. In recalled vehicles, the supplier of the front-row center seat failed to attach the brackets to the frame of the seat correctly.

As a result, the seat belt may be “loose or detached from the seat frame.” Passengers may also hear a rattling sound emanating from the seat. 

The issue was first caught by the manufacturer in August 2020. There are no injuries associated with this recall.

Other GM recalls

December saw a GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado recall due to an issue with roof-rail airbags, as well as a massive, six-million car recall due to faulty Takata airbags’ inflators that are prone to hurling “sharp metal fragments” into the car occupants in a crash. The latter includes Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe SUVs. However, the trucks involved in both recalls are older models and not the same ones that are being recalled this time around.

Risks  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among those aged 1-54 in the U.S.”  Seat belts can sharply reduce the risk of death or injury in a crash but they must be able to secure each occupant in the vehicle. If not, the passenger or the driver may be injured inside the vehicle or thrown from the vehicle during a crash.

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers must inspect the seat belt bracket attachments on both sides of the front-row center seat and will reassemble them as necessary. The repair will be free of charge.  General Motors expects to begin the recall on February 1, 2021.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 624,000 vehicles are included in this General Motors recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydGeneral Motors vehicles recalled for seat belt issue

General Motors vehicles recalled for potential fuel leaks

Warren, MI– December 10, 2020 – General Motors (NYSE:GM) has recalled 194,105 vehicles due to missing bolts on the start-stop accumulator end cap. The missing bolts may result in a transmission oil leak, a loss of vehicle power or an engine fire. This General Motors (GM) recall includes:

  • 2018-2019 Chevrolet Cruze sedans
  • 2018-2019 Buick LaCrosse sedans
  • 2018-2020 Chevrolet Equinox SUVs
  • 2018-2020 Chevrolet Traverse SUVs
  • 2018-2020 GMC Terrain SUVs
  • 2018 Chevrolet Malibu sedans
  • 2019-2020 Buick Encore SUVs
  • 2019-2020 Buick Enclave SUVs
  • 2019-2020 Cadillac XT4 SUVs
  • 2019-2020 Chevrolet Blazer SUVs
  • 2019-2020 GMC Acadia SUVs
  • 2020 Cadillac XT6 sedans

Recall summary  

Your vehicle’s transmission is designed to transfer engine power to the driveshaft. The start-stop accumulator shuts down the engine when it is not in use to achieve better fuel economy and cut down on emissions.

Each start-stop transmission accumulator is attached using four bolts. In the case of the recalled vehicles, due to a supplier software error, two of the required bolts are missing

Risks 

Missing bolts can create a number of issues:

  • Transmission oil leak: A leak may damage other engine parts, and driving the vehicle without the proper amount of oil or transmission fluid may damage the engine.
  • Loss of vehicle power: A loss of power may prevent the driver from accelerating into a busy road or onto a highway, increasing the risk of an accident. A power loss may also reduce the driver’s ability to speed up to avoid an accident. Finally, the vehicle may slow down on its own until it comes to a complete stop, increasing the risk of being struck by another vehicle coming up from behind.
  • Increased risk of fire: A fire can injure the vehicle occupants, or cause the driver to lose control and cause an accident. This article explains what you should do if you believe your vehicle is on fire.

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will need to check the start-stop accumulator end cap and determine if any bolts are missing. If they are, the dealer will replace the end cap at no cost to the owner. GM expects the recall to begin on December 14, 2020.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

This GM oil leak recall includes over 194,000 vehicles. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydGeneral Motors vehicles recalled for potential fuel leaks