GM Cars Airbag Recall Update

Michael Bennett
September 5, 2016 - 716 Views

Major recalls of vehicle models outfitted with Takata airbags now have been issued for over 34 million cars and trucks. The recalls include many models of General Motors vehicles with Takata airbags that may exhibit several types of defects. Most of the recalls affect models produced between 2000 and 2011, but more recent models are also being recalled for the same problems.

GM Recalls – Takata Airbags

During 2014, GM recalled 15.9 million vehicles worldwide, with 13.8 of those in the U.S. The GM Recalls involved many models of cars and trucks that were sold in the U.S. and worldwide. In May of 2015, GM issued recalls for 330,198 full-size pickup trucks in the U.S. to replace Takata airbags. Recalls also were issued for pickup trucks in Canada and Mexico.

This action was taken in response to the May 19, 2015 warning by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) that certain passenger side frontal airbags made by Takata could be affected by moisture. Moisture could eventually cause the airbag inflator to rupture, resulting in deployment combined with expulsion of metal fragments that could cause physical harm to occupants. The passenger side frontal airbags may be susceptible to moisture intrusion which, over time, could cause the inflator to rupture upon its deployment. Vehicles in warmer, moist climate zones are most prone to having these problems occur.

Airbag Deployment Failures

Although airbags do help prevent injury and death to vehicle occupants when those airbags function properly, there have been serious issues with Takata airbags since before 1997. Installation of airbags became mandatory in the U.S. in 1998. Problems with Takata airbags involve deployment failures, including premature deployment and fracturing of metal casing and inflator parts.

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When an airbag is activated, chemicals inside the inflator mechanism combine to produce hot hydrogen gas, which then inflates the airbag at speeds of 100 mph or higher. If the inflator or a metal casing around it fractures, those metal shards are projected at high speed into the vehicle, potentially harming occupants. Some people have died after metal shards pierced critical blood vessels in their neck area. To date, there have been about 10 fatalities reported in the U.S., and hundreds of injuries that were caused by airbag deployment malfunctioning.

Other deployment failures by Takata airbags include:

  • Premature activation – exploding when there is no impact or the vehicle is not running.
  • Side location airbag activation – when someone leans against the side door panel or the vehicle is brushed by an object on the side.
  • Metal bolts that are loose or not installed properly can cause airbag malfunction.
  • Airbags not functioning at all due to electrical short-circuit.
  • If air vents do not all some of the contents to exit the bag, the bag could remain too hard and cause injury to chest area or face.

GM Vehicle Recalls

General Motors is a major producer of motorized vehicles that are sold worldwide. The company includes 10 brand names, including, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC. They delivered 9.8 million vehicles worldwide during 2015, selling one every 6.63 seconds. The company has been very responsive about the airbag recalls.

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Recall reports are on file at various online locations, including the General Motors website, Safercar.gov, the NHTSA website, Edmunds and other websites. You also can check for recalls by entering your VIN Number via links on several of these websites or use the link mentioned at the end of this article.

Recent GM Vehicle Recalls include certain models of:

  • 2007-2011 GMC Sierra 1500
  • 2007-2011 GMC Sierra 2500
  • 2007-2011 GMC Sierra 3500
  • 2007-2011 GMC Yukon
  • 2007-2011 GMC Yukon XL
  • 2007-2008 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD, 2007-2008 GMC Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD
  • 2012 Chevrolet Camaro
  • 2008-’10 Saturn Outlook
  • 2008-’13 Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia
  • 2009-’13 Chevrolet Traverse
  • 2012 Buick Verano and Chevrolet Camaro, Cruze and Sonic
  • 2013-’14 Chevrolet Cruze
  • 2013-’14 Chevrolet Spark and 2013 Buick Encore
  • 2014 Chevrolet Corvettes
  • 2015 Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Malibu, GMC Terrain
  • 2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD
  • Chevrolet Silverado LD, 2014 GMC Sierra LD, 2015 Silverado HD, Tahoe and Suburban and 2015 GMC Sierra HD, Yukon and Yukon XL

The recalls do not necessarily affect all of any mentioned model name and for some models, only a few vehicles are on the recall list. General Motors has notified owners of all affected vehicles by mail, but in cases where a vehicle has been sold by an original owner, the notices may not reach a current owner. This is again why it is best to check using your VIN Number to verify that your vehicle needs attention and airbag replacement or adjustment by your dealer. The dealer repairs are free, but getting replacement parts has been difficult and a slow process.

Replacement Information

There have been delays for GM and other dealers receiving replacement parts from Takata. Some of the replacement inflators were also defective; Takata continues to try to supply dealers worldwide. A recent problem occurred in Texas, as a truck carrying Takata inflator parts exploded and burned. Takata denies that it was due to their airbag parts.

Compounding replacement problems is that there are counterfeit airbags being sold. It is critical that you only work with your dealer on airbag problems. They will have the bona fide airbag replacement parts available.

Replacement of these defective airbags is essential, so be persistent in getting it done. First, determine if your vehicle is on the recall lists. You will either get a notice from your dealer, or you can go online and check your VIN Number at several websites, including the National Highway

Traffic Safety Administration or these government websites: http://www.safercar.gov/rs/takata/index.html or https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/.

Airbag Recall GM Vehicles

This car manufacturer also has issued a recall notice for some models produced from 2007-2011, such as the Escalade, Escalade EXT, and Escalade ESV.

References

Michael Bennett

About Michael Bennett

Michael Bennett is Editor-in-Chief of Consumer Protect.com. Since 1999, he's worked across a multitude of areas of consumer protection including defective products, environmental issues, identity theft, predatory lending and more. If you find his articles helpful please share them with your readers.