General Motors is recalling 1.9 million trucks and SUVs in the U.S. for defective airbags that could kill or seriously injure vehicle occupants.
The new recall covers 2007-2011 full-size pickups and SUVs including the Chevrolet 1500, Avalanche, Tahoe and Suburban; GMC Sierra 1500, Yukon and Yukon XL; Cadillac Escalade, Escalade EXT and Escalade ESV; and 2009-2011 2500 and 3500 trucks.
The vehicles are equipped with front passenger-side airbags made by Takata Corp.
Propellant in the airbags can deteriorate and explore, shooting deadly metal fragments into the vehicle’s interior. This could seriously injure or kill the vehicle’s occupants.
The source of the problem may be humidity and temperature cycling.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “has concluded that the likely root cause of the rupturing of most non-desiccated frontal Takata air bag inflators is a function of time, temperature cycling, and environmental moisture,” GM said.
The automaker believes its vehicles are currently safe to drive.
“These full-size trucks and SUVs have features and attributes that minimize the maximum temperature to which the inflator will be exposed,” GM said.
The manufacturer cites large interiors, solar-absorbing windshields and side glass, and the way the inflators are packaged in the instrument panel as examples.
As of May, there have been no reports of airbags rupturing in these vehicles since the start of production, GM said. This is based on approximately 44,000 crash deployments.
GM has not yet provided a schedule for when it will notify owners of the issue.
At least ten deaths have been linked to the Takata airbag defect, including nine in the U.S. Most have been in Honda vehicles.
The issue has forced the recall of more than 24 million vehicles in the U.S.