GM announces massive recall over air bag problem

DETROIT - General Motors (GM) is recalling more than 4 million vehicles worldwide to fix an air bag software defect that has been linked to one death.

The company said Friday that in rare cases, the car’s computers can go into test mode and the front air bags won’t inflate in a crash. The seat belts also may not function.

GM says the defect is linked to at least one death and three injuries. The car maker is recalling a total of 4.28 million vehicles, including 3.6 million in the U.S. 

“A failure of the front air bags or seat belt pretensioners to deploy in the event of a crash necessitating deployment increases the risk of injury to the driver and front passenger,” according to a GM filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 

NHTSA announced the recall Friday.  

The company learned of the problem in May when a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado crashed and its air bags didn’t deploy. GM notified Delphi (DLPH), the supplier that made the module. The two companies tested the modules and decided to recall the vehicles last week. 

GM will notify customers and update the software for free. GM says dealers already have access to the software update so they should be able to repair the vehicles quickly.

The recall involves the 2014-2016 Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet SS and Spark EV; the 2014-2017 Buick Encore, GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Corvette, Trax, Caprice and Silverado; and the 2015-2017 Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban and Silverado HD, GMC Yukon, Yukon XL and Sierra HD and Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV.

GM said will notify customers and update the software for free. 

In 2014, GM recalled 2.6 million older small cars worldwide to replace faulty ignition switches linked to the deaths of 124 people and hundreds of injuries. The company admitted last year that it failed to disclose the problem as part of a $900 million deal with federal authorities​ to avoid criminal charges.