General Motors' series of recalls is far from over. The Detroit-based carmaker has announced that it is recalling 395 new vehicles equipped with faulty Takata airbag inflators and 3,300 pickup trucks and SUVs with ignition switch defects.
The company has announced that certain 2015 models of the Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Camaro, Malibu, Equinox and GMC Terrain are being recalled after testing at the company's Mexico facility. The Takata airbags found in these vehicles were discovered to have inflators that may explode during deployment, potentially sending pieces of sharp metal across the vehicle's cabin and injuring passengers.
The latest recall is yet another addition to the more than 19 million vehicles by 11 automakers recalled in the U.S. since 2014 due to the defective Takata airbags. The National Highway Traffic Security Administration says more than a hundred individuals have been injured and at least eight have died from the exploding inflators.
The problem, Takata says, lies in the ammonium nitrate that is used in its inflators to create a small explosion that will deploy the airbag. The Japanese car components company says the chemical can degrade in high temperatures, causing it to burn too quickly and blast apart its metal container. However, GM's testing that led to the recall reveals that the airbags can also explode in low temperatures.
"In a testing at the Takata Monclova Mexico inflator plant on Oct. 5, 2015, one side airbag inflator failed a Lot Acceptance Test (LAT) cold-test (-40c)," said the NHTSA. "In this test, certain of the inflator's components separated from each other during deployment, releasing high pressure gas and propelling the separated components apart."
Separately, GM announced a recall for its light-duty 2014 Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras, as well as the heavy-duty versions of its 2015 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe SUVs due to a defective ignition lock that can potentially disable power steering, power brakes and airbag deployment. The defect can also turn off the engine unexpectedly.
The problem, which was discovered by an employee who reported the issue through GM's in-house Speak Up For Safety program, stems from ignition lock gears that are larger than their specifications, making them difficult to turn. The key can get stuck in "start" at higher temperatures or slip to "accessory" when temperatures decrease or when it gets jostled by the driver's leg.
At least five instances of engines shutting off have been reported, says GM, but no reports of injury have been made. The car manufacturing company has already notified dealers, who will replace the ignition lock housing free of charge for owners of all affected vehicles.