Car Industry

GM Takata airbag recall kicks off with 2.6 million trucks and SUVs

The federal government ordered GM to recall the vehicles last year after a lengthy petition from the automaker.

Owners will finally get some new airbags shortly.
General Motors

Owners of General Motors vehicles can take some solace knowing a recall is officially under way for the first portion of trucks and SUVs the federal government said GM must recall, due to faulty Takata airbags. This week, GM filed recall documents with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and said the campaign officially kicks off on March 1.

To be clear, the 2.6 million vehicles included in this recall aren't in addition to the past recall order from the federal government. Last November, the feds said GM must conduct a recall for 6 million trucks and SUVs that feature Takata airbag inflators. This is only the first batch of vehicles. They include GM trucks and SUVs from the 2007-2014 model years.

Specifically, this round covers the 2007-2011 Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV, Escalade EXT, Chevrolet Avalanche, Silverado 1500, Suburban, Tahoe, GMC Sierra 1500, Yukon, Yukon XL, and 2009-2011 Chevrolet Silverado 2500, Silverado 3500, GMC Sierra 2500 and Sierra 3500. Even more specifically, GM said this batch is for vehicles sold or ever registered or still in the states of Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and the territory of Puerto Rico.

In addition to these SUVs and trucks, the recall includes 2007-2008 Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV, Escalade EXT, Chevrolet Avalanche, Silverado 1500, Suburban, Tahoe, GMC Sierra 1500, Yukon, Yukon XL. These SUVs and trucks were originally sold or at some time registered in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

GM notes NHTSA's past findings that these vehicles feature non-desiccated passenger front airbag inflators phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate propellant. The issue is, the propellant used in the airbags can degrade over time as they're exposed to temperature cycles, high temperatures and humidity. When that happens, the inflators may explode upon deployment and send shrapnel flying at passengers in the event of a crash. GM originally said its version of the Takata inflators does not pose the same risk, and in the past provided its own safety data to US regulators. NHTSA dismissed the argument.

While owners will receive notice of the recall starting March 1, GM doesn't have the remedy complete yet. Expect another piece of mail at a later date instructing owners to bring their truck or SUV to a dealer where a technician will install a new front passenger airbag at no cost.

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