GM Recall: What You Should Know About Airbag Stats
This important update comes to us from PopularMechanics.com. The federal, congressional, and National Highway Transportation Safety Agency (NHTSA) has an investigation into 1.6 million General Motors cars with faulty ignitions, and the scope of the mechanical failure that can cause a car to shut off involuntarily, and in turn, switch off safety systems including power steering and airbags.
On top of that, GM has announced a further round of recalls unrelated to the ignition switch problem, two of which also pertain to airbags: 1.17 million examples of the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, and Saturn Outlook have side airbags that will fail to function if the airbag warning light is illuminated, and the dash trim covering 303,000 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savanna passenger-side airbags doesn’t meet federal standards. This past Friday, the Center for Automotive Safety published a letter to NHTSA demanding to know why it hadn’t investigated several fatal accidents in Saturn Ion and Chevy Cobalt models. CAS is alleging that 303 fatalities were linked to the ignition switch failure. It’s not that simple, though. Here’s why the front airbag or side airbag or knee airbag in your car may not fire in the event of accident, and why in some cases it’s supposed to happen that way by design. Cars made since 2007 have sophisticated electronics that determine not only whether to launch the airbag but also what velocity is required to protect the occupants based on the nature of the accident. If the system is working properly, the front airbag should never go off when it can’t help mitigate injury. Thus, attributing all 303 fatalities to the ignition/airbag fault is at least premature. “You have to look at how many of the nondeployments factor into fatalities,” Zuby says. And to determine that, each accident must be examined for other causes of grave injury. Until you know if the airbag should have fired, and could have prevented the fatality, you can’t conclude cause and effect.
A lot of us are “do it yourselfers” when it comes to some of our automotive maintenance chores. If this applies to you, it’s good to know you have to be careful with some of these chores so as not to do more harm than good. This especially applies to anything involving your electrical system.
Your power brake system helps you provide braking power, so you don’t have to do all the work with your brake pedal. So what’s involved in the power brake system? The actual brakes are applied at the wheel, using hydraulic pressure. When you step on the brake pedal, it creates pressure in the power booster that’s multiplied by vacuum from the engine, and the resulting pressure pushes brake fluid through the master cylinder, into tubes and hoses that run to the brake at each wheel.