Volvo recalls sedans over exploding airbags

Ridgeville, SC – October 22, 2021 – Volvo  (OTCMKTS:VLVLY) has recalled  259,383 cars because the driver-side airbag may explode during deployment, sending dangerous shrapnel flying at vehicle occupants. The recall includes the following sedans:

  • 2001 Volvo S60 
  • 2002 Volvo S60
  • 2003 Volvo S60
  • 2004 Volvo S60
  • 2005 Volvo S60
  • 2006 Volvo S60
  • 2007 Volvo S60
  • 2008 Volvo S60
  • 2009 Volvo S60 
  • 2001 Volvo S80 
  • 2002 Volvo S80 
  • 2003 Volvo S80 
  • 2004 Volvo S80
  • 2005 Volvo S80 
  • 2006 Volvo S80 

Recall summary  

Airbag inflators protect drivers and passengers in the event of a crash by burning fuel inside the inflator and inflating the airbag.

The inflators in this Volvo airbag recall degrade over time because of moisture and high temperatures, among other factors. The degraded chemicals generate a much bigger explosion than intended “during deployment”, bursting the inflator into pieces, which can fly through the vehicle cabin at high speeds and impale occupants. 

This issue is eerily similar to the infamous Takata airbag but the inflators in question were made by a different supplier, German-American parts’ manufacturer ZF. 

Background of the recall

In June 2019, Volvo became aware of one driver who died from an exploding ZF airbag. That death, which is now the subject of a lawsuit, touched off a 54,000-car recall in November 2020. This early recall only covered some of the models now under recall, and only those in hot or humid regions, where the explosives are known to degrade faster.

In late September, Volvo deemed the airbag defect “critical” and initiated the larger recall. The recall applies to cars in all regions of the U.S.

Recall risks

The risks posed by this defect are nearly identical to those in the Takata airbag recall: The metal airbag inflator, blown to pieces, hurls shrapnel at high speeds into the bodies of vehicle occupants. The resulting injuries sometimes resemble gunshot or stab wounds, and can be fatal. Takata airbags have killed at least 28 people worldwide

The repair

All owners of vehicles in this recall are entitled to a free airbag replacement from a Volvo dealer. Notification letters with more instructions will be sent out on November 29.

Recent Volvo S60 recalls

Volvo recently recalled over 19,000 cars – including the 2021 Volvo S60 – over a seatbelt issue affecting children. The company also recalled over 85,000 cars – including the 2020 Volvo S60 – with defective fuel pumps this summer.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 250,000 US vehicles are included in this Volvo recall. To check if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandVolvo recalls sedans over exploding airbags

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