Products Liability Law Daily Air bag control unit corrosion sets off global recalls by component and vehicle manufacturers
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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Air bag control unit corrosion sets off global recalls by component and vehicle manufacturers

By John Dumoulin

Continental Automotive Systems, Inc., has recalled approximately 5 million air bag control units (ABCU) manufactured from January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2010, because the affected units have a power supply component that may corrode and result in the failure of the ABCU. If the air bag control unit fails, safety systems such as seat belt pretensioners and air bags may not deploy in the event of a crash, increasing the risk of occupant injury, according to Continental. Additionally, in some vehicles, the air bags may inadvertently deploy, increasing the risk of a crash, Continental warned. While 5 million ABCUs have been recalled worldwide, a Continental representative clarified in an email that the number of potentially affected vehicles in the United States is less than 2 million (NHTSA Recall Notice, No. 16E007, Report receipt date: January 27, 2016).

In a press release issued in relation to this recall, Honda stated that it has confirmed two injuries related to this issue.

Remedy. Continental will notify the vehicle manufacturers that installed the air bag control units into vehicles. The affected vehicle manufacturers will file recalls for these vehicles and notify their customers and replace the air bag control units. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

In addition to Continental’s recall, American Honda Motor Company, Inc., and FCA US LLC (Chrysler) have issued vehicle recalls because the air bag control units in the affected vehicles may corrode and fail. The companies reported that if the air bag control unit fails, the air bags may not deploy in the event of a crash, increasing the risk of occupant injury. The details of the vehicle recalls are as follows.

Honda recall. American Honda Motor Company, Inc., has recalled an estimated 341,444 model year 2008-2010 Accord vehicles in the United States (NHTSA Recall Notice, No. 16V056, Report receipt date: February 2, 2016). .

Remedy. Honda will notify owners, and dealers will replace the air bag control units, free of charge. Parts are expected to be available in fall 2016. Interim notifications will be mailed to owners beginning on March 15, 2016, and a second notice will be mailed when remedy parts are available.

In its press release, Honda said that in the period before parts become available, if a vehicle subject to this recall displays the Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) indicator on the instrument panel in front of the driver (which is distinct from the “Passenger Airbag Off” indicator located in the central dashboard area), vehicle owners should visit an authorized Honda dealer for a diagnostic check. If the safety defect is found during the check, Honda stated that it will replace the SRS electronic control unit free of charge using a limited supply of updated replacement parts.

Chrysler recall. Chrysler has recalled approximately 112,001 model year 2009 Dodge Journey vehicles manufactured from December 31, 2007, to August 31, 2008; 2008-2009 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country vehicles manufactured from June 18, 2007, to August 31, 2008; and 2009 Volkswagen Routan vehicles manufactured from August 11, 2008, to August 31, 2008 (NHTSA Recall Notice, No. 16V047, Report receipt date: January 29, 2016).

In a press release related to this recall, Chrysler said it is aware of seven minor injuries potentially related to this issue, but no accidents. In addition, the release said that the vehicles subject to the recall are in the United States. There are fewer numbers of affected vehicles in Canada, Mexico, and markets outside the NAFTA region.

Remedy. Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will replace the air bag control unit, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

Contact information. For recall 16V056, owners may contact Honda customer service at 1-800-999-1009. They may also go to http://www.recalls.honda.com/ or call 1-888-234-2138. Honda’s number for this recall is JW9.

For recall 16V047, owners may contact Chrysler customer service at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler’s number for this recall is S07. 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.safercar.gov.

Companies: Continental Automotive Systems, Inc.; American Honda Motor Company, Inc.; Chrysler; FCA US LLC

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