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  • GM Recalls Nearly 1 Million Vehicles Over Defective Air Bags

    GM Recalls Nearly 1 Million Vehicles Over Defective Air Bags

    General Motors is issuing a large recall of nearly one million Buick, Chevrolet and GMC crossovers due to an air bag issue linked to two deaths, one in the U.S. and another in Canada.  The NHTSA recall notice states that in the affected vehicles, the driver's air bag inflator may explode during deployment due to a manufacturing defect.

    The new GM recall does not involve Takata. It involves ARC Automotive air bag inflators and the GM recall is part of a larger ongoing investigation underway by the National Highway Transportation Administration that encompasses 67 million air bags. You can read more about the NHTSA investigation, initially launched in 2015, here.  The NHTSA attributes the ruptured air bags in two deaths, one in Michigan involving a 2015 Chevy Traverse (in 2021) and one in Canada involving a 2009 Hyundai Elantra (in 2016).

    Newly released documents show that NHTSA has requested that ARC recall the air bags, but the Tennessee-based auto supplier has so far refused to do so.  You can read ARC Automotive's response dated May 11th, 2023, here. It reads in part:

    "ARC strongly disagrees with the Agency’s “tentative conclusion” that a safety defect exists in the 67 million toroidal driver and passenger inflators produced during the 18-year period prior to January 2018."

    The next step is for the NHTSA to schedule a public hearing which could result in the federal agency taking ARC Automotive to court. 

    GM isn't the only company that's recalled vehicles over the air bags. So too has BMW, Ford, and Volkswagen/Audi.

    GM Air Bag Recall

    The new recall impacts certain 2014-2017 model year Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia vehicles.   

    According to NHTSA documents, on March 24th, 2023:

    "On March 24, 2023, GM received an allegation that a 2017 model year Chevrolet Traverse was in a crash and that the front-driver airbag inflator ruptured during deployment.

    GM and NHTSA were provided an opportunity to inspect the vehicle on April 25, 2023. The inspection confirmed that the front driver airbag inflator in the subject vehicle ruptured during deployment. GM is aware of two prior ruptures (allegations received: September 2, 2021 and February 18, 2022) of ARC-manufactured airbag inflators in 2015 model year Chevrolet Traverse vehicles, and GM conducted NHTSA Recalls 21V782 and 22V246 on the inflator production lots involved in these incidents. All three rupture events in Chevrolet Traverse vehicles involved the same inflator variant (MC).

    In 2022, to assist GM in its investigation, GM retained an independent third-party engineering firm with nationally respected engineering expertise in airbag-inflator performance. The reason for these inflator ruptures remains unknown. GM and the independent engineering firm are continuing to investigate these rupture incidents and GM has kept NHTSA informed of the progress of this investigation as the work proceeds. On May 7, 2023, and out of an abundance of caution, GM’s Safety and Field Action Decision Authority decided to expand Recalls 21V782 and 22V246 to all front-driver airbag modules containing an ARC “MC” variant inflator that were installed as original equipment in 2014-2017 model year Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia vehicles."

    A reason for the ruptures is not known.

    Here is additional recall information from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration:

    • NHTSA Campaign Number: 23V334000
    • Manufacturer General Motors, LLC
    • Components AIR BAGS
    • Potential Number of Units Affected 994,763


    General Motors, LLC (GM) is recalling certain 2014-2017 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia vehicles. The driver's air bag inflator may explode during deployment, due to a manufacturing defect.


    Dealers will replace the driver's air bag module, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed June 26, 2023. Owners may contact Buick customer service at 1-800-521-7300, Chevrolet customer service at 1-800-222-1020, or GMC customer service at 1-800-462-8782. GM's number for this recall is N232404980.


    Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.nhtsa.gov.

    GM says notices will be mailed to owners on June 26, 2023.  The repair will be performed free of charge.

    If you have questions contact your GM dealer.

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