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GM Recalls Another 4.3 Million Vehicles Because of Air Bag Issues

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Millions of Takata air bags have been recalled worldwide because of a potential defect in the inflator. The propellant used can be unstable, particularly after it’s been sitting for years in a car that “lives” in a hot, humid climate. Changes caused by age and moisture can result in the air bag exploding upon deployment, causing knife-like wounds and life-threatening injuries.

General Motors (GM) recently announced another type of air bag recall, however. This time, they’re recalling over 4 million vehicles because of a software problem that could deactivate the air bags during an accident. This could increase the risk of injury to the driver and front passenger.

So far, GM has received at least three reports of injuries and one death linked to these air bag problems.

GM Recalls More Air Bags

According to the company’s recall statement, GM is recalling certain model year 2015-2017 Chevrolet vehicles because of this software glitch.

“In the affected vehicles, certain driving conditions may cause the air bag sensing and diagnostic module (SDM) software to activate a diagnostic test. During this test, deployment of the frontal air bags and the seat belt pretensioners would not occur in the event of a crash.” Such a failure would stop the air bags from deploying, leaving vehicle occupants more vulnerable to injury.

Affected vehicles include 2015-2017 models of the following:

  • Chevy Silverado 2500 HD and 3500 HD
  • Chevy Tahoe
  • Chevy Suburban
  • GMC Sierra 2500 HD And 3500 HD
  • GMC Yukon
  • GMC Yukon XL
  • Cadillac Escalade and Cadillac Escalade ESV

In addition, the following 2014­–2017 vehicles are included:

  • Chevy Corvette
  • Chevy Silverado 1500
  • Chevy Trax
  • Caprice Police Pursuit Vehicle
  • GMC Sierra 1500
  • Buick Encore

Finally, the following 2014­–2016 vehicles are included:

  • Buick Lacrosse
  • Chevy Spark EV and SS

GM told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it would notify the owners of the recall, and that dealers will “reflash the SDM software.” Any vehicles in which the air bag has already deployed will have the SDM replaced. All repairs will be made free of charge to the consumer.

Software Defect Blocks Air Bag Deployment

The SDM software usually recognizes when someone is sitting in the seat, and then tells the vehicle to tighten the seat belt and deploy the air bag in a crash. If it activates could be rendered inactive.

GM received the first report of an issue on May 17, 2016. The owner of a 2014 Chevy Silverado claimed that his air bag and seatbelt pretensioners failed to deploy during an accident. GM investigated that vehicle and several others, performing multiple field tests, and discovered a software defect that could randomly enact the diagnostic test.

GM then implemented the recall, which affects 3.6 million vehicles in the U.S., and 4.3 million worldwide. This is in addition to those vehicles that have already been recalled because of defective Takata air bags.





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  1. Brandon Richard Schillinger says:
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    2008 Chevrolet Cobalt SS owner with all kinds of headaches no airbags in crash, fuses going out, and I owe more than it’s worth