Tag: airbags

By on August 8, 2019

lincoln-continental-2017-iihs-crash-test

It’s likely your average new car buyer can’t come close to guessing the number of airbags poised to deploy in their new ride. Gone are the days when Lee Iacocca would hit the airwaves, bragging about his company’s standard driver’s side airbags. New vehicles are festooned with then.

However, one particular airbag could be doing more harm than good, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. (Read More…)

By on August 2, 2019

2017 Audi A4 - Image: Audi

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that Volkswagen Group of America is issuing a recall on 144,092 Audi vehicles in the United States so their passenger-side airbag sensors can be fixed. Oxidation on the connecting cable of the system is causing software failures, leading to an inability to detect occupants and disabling the airbag from functioning.

Issued on July 24th, the recall covers Audi S5 and A5 vehicles along with some A4s — all manufactured between 2016 and 2018. Automotive News reported there would be an additional 26,040 vehicles recalled in Canada after speaking with an Audi representative.  (Read More…)

By on June 6, 2019


There was a time when the only thing cushioning your head from a direct impact with the steering wheel in the event of a crash was the skin it was wrapped in. Since then, airbags have proliferated, breeding inside millions of cars to a point where they now explode down from the headliner.

Considering automotive safety pretty much only moves in one direction, this was bound to happen. There may come a day when airbags are no longer limited to the interior of cars.

ZF Group, best known for its transmissions, is currently testing a “pre-crash external side airbag system” that it considers to be the world’s first. Having debuted a prototype in 2016, ZF is now conducting live demonstrations where an inflatable barrier bursts forth from the rocker panel to provide additional cushioning for side impacts.  (Read More…)

By on April 23, 2019

2017 Toyota Corolla LE - Image: Toyota

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched an investigation into a slew of late-model vehicles equipped with airbags that may not protect occupants in the event of a crash. The vehicles, built by American, Japanese, and Korean automakers, were all manufactured between 2010 and 2019.

According to the NHTSA, the faulty airbags may be responsible for eight deaths. (Read More…)

By on January 18, 2019

2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, Image: GM

In a perfect world, a vehicle’s airbags would only deploy in circumstances where the driver, in hindsight, applauds the life-saving buffer’s invention. Not included in that list of circumstances is a spinout, far removed from hard obstacles or other vehicles.

One Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driver isn’t applauding General Motors after his car’s side curtain airbags made their presence known at 19 mph, free of any impacting object or rollover. (Read More…)

By on October 17, 2018

Airbag crime is on the rise around the country, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and a recent report from USA Today. However, the latter of the two sources claims the issue is exponentially worse for Honda owners and nobody has any idea why.

“There’s no way for us to really know because owners don’t report to us when parts have been stolen,” Honda spokesman Chris Martin told the news outlet. “But we are certainly not unaware of the fact that Hondas have been a target of parts theft for many years simply based on the popularity of models in this market.” (Read More…)

By on June 8, 2018

Following a March investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Kia Motors is recalling more than 507,000 vehicles in the United States to solve an electronic glitch that may prevent airbags from deploying in the event of a collision.

The NHTSA launched the probe after four people died in accidents involving Kia and Hyundai vehicles with airbags that failed to inflate. In total, the agency’s investigation noted failed deployments in the 2011 Hyundai Sonata and 2012-2013 Kia Forte in the U.S. There was also an incident involving the Forte in Canada. (Read More…)

By on April 4, 2018

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has released new ratings for seven small utility vehicles. For the most part, the pint-sized crossovers performed amicably. However, none of the models were worthy of the group’s coveted “Top Safety Pick Plus” award due to subpar headlamp performance, while a couple of models were found structurally deficient after being confronted with the dreaded small overlap crash test.

Ford’s Escape received an overall poor rating and came away from the test with the worst structural deformation within the group. Senior IIHS research engineer Becky Muller noted that Ford reinforced the diver’s side of the vehicle for the 2017 model year but negated extending that courtesy to passengers.

“Disparities like this one are why we decided to formally rate the passenger side in the small overlap test after five years of evaluating only the driver side,” she explained. “Manufacturers shouldn’t shortchange protection for front-seat passengers.” (Read More…)

By on March 17, 2018

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a probe into two older-model Kia and Hyundai vehicles in the wake of six head-on collisions, hoping to discover why the vehicles’ airbags failed to deploy.

Included in the investigation is the 2011 Hyundai Sonata and Kia Fortes from the 2012 and 2013 model years. The collisions reported by the safety agency resulted in four deaths and six injuries. (Read More…)

By on February 12, 2018

After alerting drivers of nearly 3,000 2006 Ranger pickups last month, Ford Motor Company wants the owners of another 33,428 trucks to stop driving their vehicle, get out, and walk away.

The vehicles involved in this latest “stop driving” order are, like the other crop, all presently under recall for a potentially deadly airbag defect, though recent tests show they could be especially dangerous in the event of an airbag deployment. Ford singled out the earlier group of vehicles after discovering a connection between two airbag-related deaths in the United States. The unstable Takata airbag inflators found in both vehicles, which detonated and sprayed both crash victims with metal shards, were assembled on the same day.

These 33,428 Rangers could be equally dangerous, the company says. (Read More…)

By on December 12, 2017

Front Pedestrian Braking, a new active safety technology available on the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu and 2016 Cadillac CT6, is one of many safety features tested at General Motors' new Active Safety Test Area at the Milford Proving Ground in Milford, Michigan. Image: Jeffrey Sauger/General Motors

Resident internet sleuth Bozi Tatarevic has unearthed an interesting patent granted to General Motors last week. Described as a “Fender Located Pedestrian Airbag,” it is intended to provide protection to a pedestrian hit by the front area of a vehicle.

Given that pedestrian safety standards are often cited as the reason for the pop-up headlamp’s demise, one can only assume that the units are poised for a glorious comeback on the next Corvette. No? Damn.

(Read More…)

By on November 22, 2017

Airbags

It appears the fictional JR Ewing isn’t the only one having to deal with cartels. Antitrust regulators in the EU have fined five safety equipment suppliers a combined 34 million euros ($40 million) for taking part in a scheme to fix prices for seat belts and airbags sold to Japanese automakers.

The cartels were allegedly supplying the safety equipment to Toyota, Suzuki, and Honda at inflated prices between calendar years 2004 and 2010.

(Read More…)

By on September 18, 2017

toyota-robot-factory

Occupational hazards exist in every industry, and we used to adhere to the notion of “acceptable losses” for certain projects. Over 20,000 people are estimated to have died under the French leadership of the Panama Canal’s construction, and another 6,000 when the Americans finally finished it in 1914 — two years ahead of its target date. Fifteen years later, five men perished during the construction of the Empire State Building, which was pretty good for the time.

However, acceptable workplace-related deaths aren’t really in style anymore. One causality is too many in today’s post-OSHA world, whether you’re in the U.S. or living beyond its borders. Such was the case two years ago when a robot crushed a 22-year-old man to death at a Volkswagen assembly plant. As a result, VW and other automakers are closely watching the efforts of Germany’s Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics in order to build a safer robot.  (Read More…)

By on August 9, 2017

Takata-jpg

Takata, the airbag supplier whose cost-cutting measures ended up killing people, issued a request on Wednesday to suspend lawsuits against automakers filed by those injured by its faulty inflators.

Without the injunction, Takata claims the rampant litigation would prohibit management from completing the sale of the company’s viable operations to Key Safety Systems for $1.6 billion, threatening the supply of air bag inflators meant to replace already recalled ones (which may include all previously repaired units, pending an EPA investigation).

Obviously, the injured parties want restitution. Plaintiffs’ lawyers call the proposed injunction “an abuse of the bankruptcy laws for the benefit of all of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers.” The fear is that Takata’s request will delay consideration of numerous lawsuits for several months to a year, which is a long time to wait when you’ve been wronged.  (Read More…)

By on July 19, 2017

airbag

Takata, the parts supplier that furnished automakers with millions of extremely dangerous airbag inflators, was forced to issue another recall last week. Considering the hundreds of millions of units already recalled by the company, another 2.7 million is a drop in the bucket. But there’s a slight problem, as these newly recalled inflators are devices that have already been replaced.

In 2015, regulators specified Takata had until the end of 2019 to ensure its replacement airbag inflators were safe. With the “fixed” units now under scrutiny, automakers may be liable for the supplier’s wrongdoing as the millions upon millions of recalled inflators would need to be replaced for a second time. The current recall was prompted after the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found the drying agent added specifically to combat the moisture that degrades the ammonium nitrate compound wasn’t effective.

“Absent proof that the other desiccated inflators are safe, they will also be subject to recall,” the NHTSA said in a statement last week.  (Read More…)

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