An airbag explodes in a car

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

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 Motor, Stellantis, Tesla, Toyota 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

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

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

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.

Conclusion

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.

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!

 


Sources:


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Nissan Rogue Gas Smell Class Action

Many owners of the Nissan Rogue have experienced an unusual gas smell.  Owners may be entitled to compensation or in severe cases, a new vehicle or repurchase.  This page discusses the Class Action filed against Nissan.

1. Class Action Filing

Owners of the Nissan Rogue have filed a class action charging lemon law, breach of warranty and Magnuson-Moss Act violations.

2. Cause of Nissan Gas Smell 

The Nissan Rogues contain a newly designed a 1.5-liter KR15DDT three-cylinder variable-compression turbocharged (VC-Turbo) engine. The complaint states the Nissan Rogue contain one or more defective components within its engine’s Positive Crankcase Ventilation (“PCV”) system that allows fuel to seep through porous rubber components resulting in strong gas fumes emanating from the engine compartment area into the vehicles’ interior.

3. Complaints to NHTSA

There are multiple complaints about gas smell reported.

A. Online Complaints

On December 20, 2022, a Nissan owner asked on a Rogue website whether other Class Vehicle owners experienced their cabins filling with gas fuel smell and added that when parking in his garage within ten minutes whole garage smelled like gas.  He added that he complained to a Nissan dealership repeatedly of smelling gas to which dealership responded it had numerous other Class Vehicle owners complaining of same defect and that Nissan was investigating but had no fix. Nissan Rogue Forum, www.nissanforums.com/threads/2023-rogue-questions.

Particularly if complaints continue, one can expect the manufacturer to instruct its dealers to adopt a particular position, or even given them a statement to say in response to questions or complaints.

B. Complaints to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration   

Owners have also complained to the federal agency which deals with automobile safety.

NHTSA Complaint No. 11496829, December 9, 2022 (2022 Nissan Rogue):

“My car smells gasoline inside and outside. I brought the car to the service dealer but the service manager said that they cannot figure out where gas odor coming from. I am using my car in bringing my 2 kids to school and going to work. My kids are getting sickand I am afraid my car will cause fire.”

NHTSA Complaint No. 11502157, January 17, 2023 (2022 Nissan Rogue):

“After 9 months of owning this car. When I drive for 20 or so miles and turn the vehicle off for a short period then restart I smell gas and fumes make me sick and my eyes water at times. The dealer found nothing wrong. Nissan corporate got involved after I emailed them. Their engineering tech confirmed it was happening.”

NHTSA Complaint No. 11504489, January 30, 2023 (2022 Nissan Rogue):

“Gas fumes from engine compartment – after the car has been driven 20-30 mins enough to heat up the engine and then parked (turned off) for 10-15 minutes a strong smell of gasoline is detected, you can smell it either by sniffing in the front grill or if you start it and use the outdoor air circulation in the cabin it will come through the vents. There are enough fumes to fill a 1 car garage in 30 mins with a thick odor of gasoline.”

4. Legal Violations 

Persistent and substantial violations may create lemon law issues.  Consumers otherwise may be entitled to claim breach of warranty based upon Nissan’s failure to fix the vehicle.

Sources 
Nissan Rogue Forum, www.nissanforums.com/threads/2023-rogue-questions.278985/

Call (973) 598-1980 for a Free Consultation to Discuss Your Rights  

 

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GM Torque Converter and 8 Speed Transmission Problems

GM issued TSB 18-NA-355 to address “torque converter clutch (TCC) shudder conditions on 8L45 and 8L90” eight-speed automatic transmissions. The proposed solution was a new fluid flush, which appears to fix the issues for some customers, who have reported a dramatic change in shift quality after swapping out the juice. If the flush doesn’t fix the issue, the next step may be to replace the torque converter, which could be glazed.

GM 8 Speed Transmission Lawsuit

A year after the initial class-action lawsuit, The General sought to have it dismissed. The lawsuit alleges GM’s eight-speed automatic transmissions may shift violently into gear, and the filing further claims the problems are caused by some type of hydraulic systems failure, which can wear down the gears and – as mentioned earlier – allow metal shavings to become caught within the transmission.

Plaintiffs say that the fact that GM sent TSBs to dealerships are an indication the automaker has known about the defects since at least 2015. The lawsuit also claims GM’s suggested fixes, such as flushing the transmission system, are only a temporary solution.

Meanwhile, GM claims the problems with the transmission do not fall under the factory warranty, as it is a design issue  and not a manufacturing defect.

(Excerpted from) Five Ways GM Is Infuriating Its Customers Today (gmauthority.com)

Call (973) 598-1980 for a Free Consultation on Your GM 8 Speed Transmission Problem

Honda 9 Speed Transmission Claims

Honda 9-speed transmission problems have caused a class action lawsuit for all current and former owners or lessees who purchased or leased any Honda vehicle equipped with a ZF 9HP 9-speed automatic transmission.

According to the Honda class action, the following vehicles allegedly suffer from “rough and delayed shifting, loud noises during shifting, harsh engagement of gears, sudden, harsh accelerations and decelerations, and sudden loss of power.”

  • 2016-2022 Honda Pilot
  • 2018-2019 Honda Odyssey
  • 2019-present Honda Passport
  • 2020-present Honda Ridgeline

According to the two Honda owners who filed the lawsuit, the 9-speed transmission problems are caused by improper design and/or calibration of the software in control of the transmission, including the transmission and powertrain control modules.

Then in July 2023, the transmission allegedly “bucked, lagged, illuminated a warning light, shifted into neutral without driver input, and prevented the vehicle’s drive gear from being engaged.”

The plaintiffs took their vehicle to a Honda dealer where technicians found “the transmission had internal gear failure,” and the 9-speed automatic transmission was replaced.

The Honda transmission problems cost the plaintiffs $7,619 out-of-pocket for repairs, but allegedly the same defective 9-speed transmission components were installed.

According to the class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs assert the transmission problems remain.

The lcomplaint  alleges Honda knows about 9-speed transmission problems because the automaker issued a service campaign and multiple technical service bulletins to dealerships. The Honda bulletins allegedly describe symptoms of a transmission programming defect in ZF 9HP transmissions.

The actions by Honda included alleged repairs for the transmission problems, but the lawsuit alleges the repairs do not fix the 9-speed transmission problems.   See www.carcomplaints.com/news/2023/honda-9-speed-transmission-problems-lawsuit.shtml

The Honda 9-speed transmission class action lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of California: Kevin Moore v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., et al.

Common Problems on 2019 Vehicles

Here are some common issues reported for certain 2019 models:

2019 Toyota RAV4:

Some owners have reported issues with transmission shifting and vibrations. There have been complaints about the multimedia and infotainment system’s functionality.

2019 Ford F-150:

Owners have reported problems with the transmission, including harsh shifting.
Some trucks have experienced issues with the powertrain and engine.

2019 Honda CR-V:

Some owners have complained about the engine experiencing oil dilution issues in colder climates. The infotainment system has been a point of concern for some consumers.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500:

Some owners have reported problems with the transmission, including erratic shifting.
The electronic stability control system has been a source of concern for a few owners.

2019 Subaru Outback:

There have been complaints about problems with the continuously variable transmission (CVT) and its reliability.
Some owners have experienced issues with the multimedia and infotainment system.

2019 Nissan Rogue:

There have been reports of issues with the CVT, including potential belt and pulley problems. Some consumers have mentioned concerns about the braking system.

2019 Jeep Cherokee:

Owners have reported issues with the nine-speed automatic transmission, including rough shifting.
The vehicle’s electrical system, including problems with the infotainment and multimedia, has been a point of concern for some consumers.

Please note that these issues represent common complaints as of 2022, and manufacturers may have addressed some of these problems through recalls or updated models. When considering a used 2019 vehicle, it’s a good practice to thoroughly research the specific VIN to check for any recalls and to have a trusted mechanic inspect the vehicle before purchase. Additionally, consulting current consumer reviews and conducting a comprehensive test drive can help you assess the vehicle’s condition and any potential issues.

Remedies

Class actions are being evaluated for certain models along with recalls.  Owners who have experienced multiple problems may have claims for breach of warranty and compensation for inconvenience.

Call (973) 598-1980 for a free consultation to discuss remedies.

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