General Motors recalls 7 million vehicles for life-threatening air bag inflators

DORAL, FL – General Motors recalls 7 million vehicles globally after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) argued the inflators run the risk of exploding, becoming life-threatening for people.

According to AP, the automaker had petitioned the NHTSA four times to avoid a recall under the argument the air bag inflator canisters have been proven to be safe on the road and in testing, but their petition was denied. The company says it will not fight the recall, even though it believes the vehicles are safe.

It is known that twenty-seven people have been killed worldwide by the exploding inflators including 18 in the U.S. and owners who filed comments with NHTSA claim General Motors has placed profits over safety. 

The hazard comes when the Takata inflators are activated during a crash, which is when the chemicals (volatile ammonium nitrate), that are used to fill the air bag, can deteriorate if they are exposed to heat and humidity causing the bags to explode with too much force. When this happens, metal canister can blow apart and spew shrapnel.

“Based on this information and information provided to the petition’s public docket, NHTSA concluded that the GM inflators in question are at risk of the same type of explosion after long-term exposure to high heat and humidity as other recalled Takata inflators,” the agency said.

The recall covers GM full-size pickup trucks and SUVs from the 2007 through 2014 model years, including the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups, as well as the Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe and Avalanche, the Cadillac Escalade, GMC Sierra 1500, 2500 and 3500, and the GMC Yukon.

According to NHTSA, the decision they made means all Takata ammonium nitrate inflators in the U.S. will be recalled, which will cost the Detroit automaker an estimated $1.2 billion, about one third of its net income so far this year.

The company has 30 days to give NHTSA a proposed schedule for notifying vehicle owners and starting the recall, as reported by the AP. 

“Although we are confident that the inflators in the GMT900 vehicles do not pose an unreasonable risk to safety, continue to perform as designed in the field and will continue to perform as designed in line with the results of our accelerated aging studies, we will abide by NHTSA’s decision to maintain the trust and confidence of customers and regulators,” said GM spokesman Dan Flores to the news agency. 

If you want to know if your vehicle has been recalled, go to and key in your 17-digit vehicle identification number.

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