Is the Airbag in Your Vehicle Faulty?
GM Recalls Millions of Vehicles
Software bugs are just nasty. While there are those that are harmless and mildly irritating, there are others that can be harmful to the point of being fatal. Unfortunately for General Motors Co., the kind they are currently dealing with is the latter.
On September 9 of this year, General Motors announced that they are recalling more than 4 million vehicles worldwide (3.6 million of them in the U.S.) manufactured from 2014 to 2017 due to a software bug resulting in a faulty airbag. So far, the issue has already been linked to 1 fatality and 3 injuries.
The line-up of affected cars, pickup trucks and sports utility vehicles (SUVs) are using a sensing and diagnostic module to control their airbags and seatbelt equipment (called pretensioners). Because of the problematic software, the sensors can be incorrectly prompted under certain conditions to run a diagnostic test that will deactivate the frontal airbags and pretensioners. With these critical safety features deactivated, the vehicle occupants virtually have nothing to protect them in the event of a crash, making injury or even death likely consequence.
How it all started
It all began in May with an accident involving a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado truck. According to the report received by General Motors through their “Speak Up for Safety” system, not only did the front airbag of the driver fail to deploy; its pretensioners failed to deploy as well.
This report prompted General Motors, together with Delphi Automotive (supplier of the sensing and diagnostic module) to make an investigation of their own. They started in June, gathering data from the May 2014 truck accident, and also looking into other similar incidents involving other similar vehicles.
By August, they had enough information to conduct road testing which they did at their Milford Proving Grounds in Michigan. What they discovered was that their software had a diagnostic “oscillation test” which could be incorrectly triggered under certain circumstances. While under this diagnostic mode, the vehicle’s safety system will not deploy. This conclusion made General Motors decide that a recall is in order and a software update will be initiated to ensure that non-deployment of airbags and pretensioners will not happen again.
The affected models include the following: 2014 – 2016 Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet SS and Spark EV; 2014 – 2017 Buick Encore; 2014 – 2017 Chevrolet Corvette, Trax, Caprice PPV and Silverado 1500; 2014 -2017 GMC Sierra 1500; 2015 – 2017 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV; 2015 – 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban and Silverado HD; and 2015 – 2017 GMC Yukon, Yukon XL and Sierra HD.
The Solution to the Faulty Airbag
Owners of affected vehicles will be contacted to let them know how to go about the recall process. Typically, they will be asked to bring their vehicle to the nearest General Motors dealer where a free software upgrade will be installed to fix the glitch. If your car model is one of those affected and you have not received a call from General Motors yet, you can verify on your own if your car is part of the recall list. Just go to General Motors website or safecar.gov and use your Vehicle Information Number (VIN) to check.
Big Sky Collision Fixes Cars
We take safety seriously here at Big Sky Collision Center in Billings. If you happen to get into an accident, we will restore your vehicle to its fullest safety before giving the keys back to you. As the best auto body shop in Billings, it’s what we live for. Call us at 406-259-6328 to schedule a time to bring your car in.