Camaro Lawsuit Alleges Chevy Knew About This But Sold Them Anyway

A class-action lawsuit has been filed that claims front passenger airbags deactivate and don’t detect people in those seats. It alleges that GM knew this was happening back in 2009, involving the Passenger Presence Sensor (PPS) pads. Allegedly, GM chose to ignore the problem which included Camaros built as 2010 and 2011 models, but not from California. So it alleges Chevy knew about this but sold the Camaro anyway.

Camaro pads easily tear according to the lawsuit so GM redesigned PPS pads

Camaro interior | GM

Because the pads can easily tear according to the lawsuit, GM alerted the seat supplier and redesigned PPS pads began to be used around September 2010. The lawsuit includes both leased and purchased Camaros in the US only according to CarComplaints. 

The plaintiff who filed the lawsuit says he bought the new 2011 Camaro in January 2012. He noticed that the airbag on-off light would illuminate “off,” even with someone sitting in the passenger seat. Noticing this in 2019 he took his Camaro to a GM dealer in November 2020. 

After being checked it flashed the trouble code B0081 which means there is a problem with the PPS pad sensor in the seat. The diagnosis was $163.86. The cost to replace the PPS pad was $1,800. When the plaintiff balked at paying the replacement cost the service rep suggested he buy the parts offline.

Upon inspection the PPS pads were found to have torn

The new 2011 Chevrolet Camaro convertible is revealed at the two-day media preview event for the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show
The convertible Chevy Camaro | David McNew/Getty Images

RELATED: Chevy Would Love a Redo on the 2017 and 2018 Camaro

That is what the plaintiff did. He purchased the parts for $667.55 and chose to go to a local mechanic to have them installed. The installation cost was $300. Upon inspection, it was found that the area with plastic push pins that hold the PPS to the seat frame tore the sensor circuits. A GM Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) from September 2010 discusses this exact problem. 

But Gm also issued a TSB in November 2009 called Intermittent SIR Light On History Codes Boo79 SYMo8 and or Boo8o SYMo8. “A customer may comment that the SIR light is on. The technician may find DTC B0079 SYM08 or B0080 SYM08 set as History Codes in the SDM [Sensing and Diagnostic Module]. These codes set due to a Driver or Passenger Seat Position Sensor invalid signal. This could be caused by a fault threshold level in the SDM programming that may be too sensitive. Engineering is aware of this concern and working toward a fix.” – TSB PIC5281

In March 2010, GM issued bulletin 10-09-41-001B

A master mechanic and service technician repair a John Deere tractor in a garage
A master mechanic (right) and service technician | Getty

Then, in March 2010, GM issued bulletin 10-09-41-001B regarding, “Restraint – Airbag Readiness Light Illuminated.”

“Some customers may comment that the airbag readiness light (SIR) is illuminated…When diagnosing this condition, the technician may find DTC B0079 SYM08 or DTC B0080 SYM08 stored in the SDM. This may be caused by a calibration issue with the SDM.” – TSB 10-09-41-001B

In September 2010, dealers were issued TSB PI0241 addressing “SIR/Airbag Indicator Light On, DTCs B0074 And B0081 Set.”

“Some customers may comment on the SIR/Airbag indicator/light on in the instrument panel cluster (IPC). Upon further investigation, the technician may find DTCs B0074 and B0081 set.”

This isn’t the first time GM has been sued over this issue

Car repair
Car repair | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The lawsuit says that the PPS pads and modules should last the life of the vehicle so they should have been replaced free-of-charge. This isn’t the first time GM has been sued over this issue. In 2016 GM was sued over similar issues. The case was dismissed by the Camaro owners before going to trial. There is no reason given why this happened, and whether GM agreed to pay the owners of those Camaros in the lawsuit.