ZF-TRW airbag control units linked to airbag failures that caused deaths and injuries.

Posted in Investigations

Investigation: 12.3 Million Vehicles For Airbag Failures
ZF-TRW airbag control units linked to airbag failures that caused deaths and injuries.

— About 12.3 million vehicles are under federal investigation because they are equipped with ZF-TRW airbag control units that may fail and cause airbag failures.

Included in the investigation are vehicles from Chrysler (FCA US), Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi and Toyota.

  • 2014-2019 Acura RLX
  • 2014-2019 Acura RLX Hybrid
  • 2012-2014 Acura TL
  • 2015-2017 Acura TLX
  • 2012-2014 Acura TSX
  • 2014 Acura TSX Sport Wagon
  • 2012-2013 Acura TSX Sportswagon
  • 2010-2011 Dodge Nitro
  • 2009 Dodge Ram 1500
  • 2010 Dodge Ram 3500
  • 2012-2019 Fiat 500
  • 2013-2015 Honda Accord
  • 2014-2015 Honda Accord Hybrid
  • 2012-2015 Honda Civic
  • 2012-2015 Honda Civic GX
  • 2012-2015 Honda Civic Hybrid
  • 2012-2015 Honda Civic Si
  • 2012-2016 Honda CR-V
  • 2012-2017 Honda Fit
  • 2013-2014 Honda Fit EV
  • 2012-2014 Honda Ridgeline
  • 2013-2019 Hyundai Sonata
  • 2013-2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
  • 2015-2017 Jeep Compass
  • 2010-2012 Jeep Liberty
  • 2015-2017 Jeep Patriot
  • 2010-2018 Jeep Wrangler
  • 2013 Kia Forte
  • 2013 Kia Forte Koup
  • 2013-2019 Kia Optima
  • 2012-2016 Kia Optima Hybrid
  • 2014 Kia Sedona
  • 2013-2017 Mitsubishi Lancer
  • 2013-2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
  • 2014-2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart
  • 2013-2016 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback
  • 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander
  • 2009-2012 Ram 1500
  • 2010-2012 Ram 2500
  • 2010-2012 Ram 3500
  • 2011-2012 Ram 4500
  • 2011-2012 Ram 5500
  • 2012-2018 Toyota Avalon
  • 2013-2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid
  • 2011-2019 Toyota Corolla
  • 2017-2018 Toyota Corolla iM
  • 2011-2013 Toyota Corolla Matrix
  • 2012-2017 Toyota Sequoia
  • 2012-2019 Toyota Tacoma
  • 2012-2017 Toyota Tundra

The airbag control unit contains what's known as an "application specific integrated circuit" (ASIC) used to monitor signals from the crash sensors. Failures of the circuits affect the control units which affect the airbags and can prevent them from deploying.

Safety regulators currently believe a crash can lead to harmful signals on the sensor wiring and causes damage to the integrated circuits. NHTSA says all automakers use airbag control units that should protect the circuits from harmful signals, but the manufactures use different methods to do that.

NHTSA opened an investigation into airbag failures in Hyundai and Kia vehicle due to reports of six injuries and four deaths in vehicles where the airbags failed to deploy.

The government knew the automakers believed electrical overstress in ZF-TRW components was likely caused by harmful signals on the crash sensor wiring, something that caused Hyundai to recall 155,000 model year 2011 Sonata cars.

Kia also recalled about 507,000 vehicles for the same airbag problems, and Fiat Chrysler did the same with 1.9 million vehicles in 2016.

Chrysler ordered the recall due to the same ZF-TRW airbag system components but the automaker also noted the airbag non-deployments occurred in vehicles equipped with sensor harnessing routed across the front of the vehicles.

NHTSA paid attention to this fact because the same ZF-TRW airbag control units are used in other Chrysler vehicles but those vehicles didn't experience the problems. However, the vehicles that weren't affected didn't have harnessing routed across the front of the vehicles.

Actions taken by Hyundai, Kia and FCA may not have been enough because NHTSA found two recent frontal crashes in Toyota vehicles where electrical overstress is suspected as the cause of airbag failures.

The crashes occurred in 2018 and 2019 Toyota Corollas equipped with ZF-TRW airbag control units, with one crash causing the death of an occupant.

Another connection between Toyota and the other automakers is how the airbag control units couldn't be read with the event data recorders after the crashes.

As for Honda and Mitsubishi, so far NHTSA hasn't found any problems even though the vehicles use the same ZF-TRW airbag control units.

CarComplaints.com will update our website with results of the ZF-TRW investigation.


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