Another industry-wide airbag defect has emerged, leading to recalls for millions of vehicles.
The latest problem relates to airbag control units produced by supplier Continental Automotive Systems. Malfunction can lead to a wide range of system failures, involving either the airbags or other safety features.
“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,” the recall documents warn. “Additionally, in some vehicles, the air bags may inadvertently deploy, increasing the risk of a crash.”
The first signs of trouble trace back to 2008 when Continental dissected an airbag control unit from a Daimler vehicle. Subsequent investigation found that corrosion had affected the unit’s ASIC chip, causing it to malfunction.
The issue affects approximately five million vehicles. Initial recall announcements focus on the 2009 Dodge Journey; the 2008-2009 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country; the 2009 Volkswagen Routan; and the 2008-2010 Honda Accord.