There have been so many airbag recalls that it is hard to even keep track. There has already been one or two for the GM Chevy and GMC pickups and SUVs. Now the NHTSA is investigating more recent-built trucks that may have airbag issues. There have been six accidents to date involving airbags that don’t deploy.
The problem is a malfunctioning airbag indicator in 2020 and 2021 GM trucks and SUVs
It appears that the problem is with a malfunctioning indicator in 2020 and 2021 Chevy Suburbans, Silverados, and Tahoes; as well as the similar GMC Sierra pickups and Yukons. It also takes in Cadillac Escalades, CT4s, CT5s, and XT4s SUVs. These are all GM airbags manufactured in 2020 and 2021.
The NHTSA says that there have already been eight injuries related to the problem. Luckily, there have not been any deaths attributed to the airbags not deploying. There are just shy of 750,000 vehicles involved.
Here’s what the NHTSA says, “The airbag malfunction indicator illuminator accompanied by diagnostic trouble codes B0001-1B or B0012-0D may result in a loss of airbag protection for the driver.” So far there have been 15 complaints to the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation. “Six crash incidents have significant frontal collision damage where driver frontal airbags failed to deploy.”
Rust causes contact issues with the airbag inflator
A GM Technical Service Bulletin cites “rust particles involved in the terminal interface of the driver airbag inflator. Illumination of the airbag MIL under these circumstances may result in a non-deployment of the driver airbag during a frontal collision and increased risk of injury to the driver.” So it appears that rust causes contact issues with the airbag inflator.
This could be a problem primarily in damp and high-humidity parts of the country, or not. Rust as a problem indicates dampness can be a contributing factor. It wouldn’t be the first time that rust prohibited contact from happening in a vehicle.
GM pickups and SUVs have been involved in a series of recalls recently
In recent months GM pickups and SUVs have been involved in a series of recalls. The November 2019 recall was for over 630,000 GM vehicles over rear brake issues. In November 2020, almost six million trucks and SUVs were recalled over airbag issues. That recall affected 2007-2014 Chevy, GMC, and Cadillac pickups and SUVs. It was part of a larger 60 million recall affecting all automakers over Takata airbags.
Then in December middle seat belt brackets were an issue leading to a recall of over 600,000 trucks and SUVs. These were mostly for 2019-2021 models. A brake vacuum pump problem resulted in over three million 2014-2018 GM trucks and SUVs in September 2019.
We’ve just hit the more notable GM truck and SUV recalls over the last year or so. As the price of trucks and SUVs continues to increase each year one would hope that the quality improves. And with the decades of building vehicles, one would think that most of these components and systems would be rote. We guess that things could be worse but we expect better than this from General Motors vehicles.