Specific Auto Problems

52 Million Airbag Inflators Should Be Recalled: A Guide for Car Owners

Posted by Howard Gutman | Feb 16, 2024 | 0 Comments

In recent years, the automotive industry has witnessed growing concerns about safety-related defects in airbag inflators. The NHTSA's recent Initial Decision sheds light on a critical issue affecting vehicle manufacturers and consumers alike. Let's delve into the details:

The Problem

The NHTSA identified a defect in certain frontal and passenger airbag inflators produced by ARC and Delphi. These inflators pose a risk to vehicle occupants, potentially compromising their safety during collisions. As a result, the agency recommends a recall for affected vehicles.

According to the NHTSA, these inflators can rupture during deployment, sending metal fragments flying into the passenger compartment. This can cause serious injuries or even death to the driver or passengers. The defect is similar to the one that plagued Takata airbags, which led to the largest recall in U.S. history.

The NHTSA estimates that about 52 million airbag inflators from ARC and Delphi are defective and should be recalled. These inflators have been used in vehicles from 2000 through early 2018 produced by 12 automakers, including General Motors (GM)Ford MotorStellantisTeslaToyota Motor, and Volkswagen.

The defect is caused by the degradation of the propellant used to inflate the airbags, which can become unstable over time due to exposure to heat, humidity, and moisture. This can lead to excessive internal pressure and rupture of the inflator housing.

The NHTSA has been investigating the issue since 2015, when it received reports of two deaths and four injuries involving ARC inflators. The agency also received information from Delphi, which supplied some of the inflators to ARC, indicating potential safety risks. The NHTSA conducted extensive testing and analysis of the inflators and concluded that they contain a defect related to motor vehicle safety.

A Tesla steering wheel with an airbag inscription on it

Car Makes and Models Affected

While the investigation primarily focuses on specific airbag inflators, it indirectly impacts various car makes and models. Owners of vehicles equipped with these inflators should pay attention to recall notices from manufacturers. The following is a list of the affected car makes and models, based on the NHTSA's Initial Decision:

  • BMW: 1 Series, 3 Series, 5 Series, 6 Series, 7 Series, X1, X3, X5, X6, Z4
  • Ford: Edge, Escape, Expedition, Explorer, F-150, F-250, F-350, F-450, F-550, Fiesta, Flex, Focus, Fusion, Mustang, Ranger, Taurus, Transit Connect
  • GM:
    • Buick Enclave, Encore, LaCrosse, Lucerne, Regal, Verano;
    • Cadillac ATS, CTS, DTS, Escalade, SRX, STS, XTS;
    • Chevrolet Avalanche, Camaro, Cobalt, Colorado, Cruze, Equinox, Express, HHR, Impala, Malibu, Silverado, Sonic, Suburban, Tahoe, Traverse, Volt;
    • GMC Acadia, Canyon, Savana, Sierra, Terrain, Yukon;
    • Hummer H2, H3;
    • Pontiac G5, G6, Solstice;
    • Saturn Aura, Outlook, Sky;
    • Saab 9-3, 9-5, 9-7X
  • Hyundai: Accent, Azera, Elantra, Genesis, Santa Fe, Sonata, Tucson, Veloster
  • Kia: Forte, Optima, Rio, Sedona, Sorento, Soul, Sportage
  • Maserati: Ghibli, GranTurismo, Levante, Quattroporte
  • Mercedes-Benz: C-Class, CL-Class, CLK-Class, CLS-Class, E-Class, GL-Class, GLK-Class, ML-Class, R-Class, S-Class, SL-Class, SLK-Class, SLS-Class, Sprinter
  • Porsche: 911, Boxster, Cayenne, Cayman, Macan, Panamera
  • Stellantis:
    • Chrysler 200, 300, Aspen, Pacifica, PT Cruiser, Sebring, Town & Country;
    • Dodge Avenger, Caliber, Challenger, Charger, Dakota, Durango, Grand Caravan, Journey, Magnum, Nitro, Ram 1500, Ram 2500, Ram 3500, Ram 4500, Ram 5500;
    • Fiat 500, 500L;
    • Jeep Compass, Grand Cherokee, Liberty, Patriot, Wrangler;
    • Ram C/V, ProMaster, ProMaster City
  • Tesla: Model S, Model X
  • Toyota: 4Runner, Avalon, Camry, Corolla, FJ Cruiser, Highlander, Land Cruiser, Matrix, Prius, RAV4, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma, Tundra, Venza, Yaris
  • Volkswagen: Beetle, CC, Eos, Golf, GTI, Jetta, Passat, Rabbit, Tiguan, Touareg
VW steering wheel with airbag inscription

Protect Yourself and Your Rights

If you own one of these vehicles, you need to take action to protect yourself and your rights. Here's what you can do:

  • Check your vehicle identification number (VIN) on the NHTSA website to see if your vehicle is part of the recall. If it is, follow the instructions to get your airbag inflators replaced as soon as possible.
  • Keep track of any problems or incidents related to your airbags. Document the date, time, location, and details of what happened. Take photos and videos if possible. Save any receipts, invoices, or repair orders.
  • Contact a qualified attorney who can help you with your legal options. Owners with substantial and recurring problems may be entitled to a refund or replacement under lemon law. Other owners may have claims for breach of warranty under the Magnuson-Moss Act.
The “airbag” sign on the car’s torpedo

Possible Class Actions

Given the severity of the airbag inflator issue, affected consumers may seek legal recourse through class-action lawsuits. These actions could involve:

  • Compensation Claims: Owners of vehicles equipped with the identified inflators may pursue compensation for potential safety risks and inconvenience.
  • Consumer Advocacy: Consumer advocacy groups and legal firms may organize class actions to hold manufacturers accountable and ensure consumer rights are protected.
  • Recall Compliance: Class actions can also pressure manufacturers to promptly address recalls and provide necessary repairs or replacements.


Don't let faulty airbags put your life at risk. You deserve to drive a safe and reliable vehicle. If you have been affected by the airbag inflator defect, you may be eligible for compensation and justice.

Facing car troubles? You have options! Explore potential claims like:

  • Magnuson-Moss Claim: Federal law safeguards consumers who purchase products with warranties, ensuring fairness and remedies for defects.
  • Deceptive Practices Claim: If you've been misled or deceived during the purchase or repair process, you may have grounds for this claim.
  • Breach of Express Warranty Claim: Your vehicle should perform as promised under its warranty. If it doesn't, you could have a valid claim.
  • Lemon Law Claim: Is your vehicle a constant source of frustration due to defects? Lemon laws provide recourse for consumers in such situations.
  • Breach of Implied Warranty Claim: When a vehicle falls short of implied promises of quality and performance, you may have a case under this claim.

Call our law firm today at (973) 598-1980 for a free consultation. We have the experience and expertise to handle your case and fight for your rights. Don't wait, call us now!

About the Author

Howard Gutman

Hiring an attorney can be a stressful and confusing situation.  You want an expert, honest, personal approach to your case.  The Law Office of Howard Gutman has been fighting for consumer rights and representing commercial interests for over 20 years.  We have a deep knowledge of fraud, consumer,...


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