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120,000 Volvo cars recalled globally due to airbag defect

Autovista Group has learned that Volvo Cars is undertaking a global recall of its S60 and S80 models built between 2001 and 2003 due to an airbag defect


120,000 Volvo cars recalled globally due to airbag defect p

‘The recall is global and in total around 120,000 cars will be recalled from markets with hot and humid conditions,’ the carmaker confirmed to Autovista Group’s Daily Brief. ‘All affected owners will be contacted directly by Volvo.’

The reason for the recall is to tackle an airbag defect which has already been linked to one fatality in the US.

In the US the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published documents describe the potential for the driver side airbag inflator to rupture, causing fragments to be expelled on deployment.

Volvo has already reached out to owners of the S60 and S80 models. According to NHTSA documents, Volvo plans to replace the faulty unit with modern propellant and inflator. 

The document states: ‘Concerned vehicles are from the introduction of propellant 5 AT 148 N.

S60/S80 MY2001-MY2003 in hot and humid areas are identified based on knowledge from field recovery studies, weather data from respective area and vehicle specific temperature data.

The affected vehicles are Models S60 and S80 M/Y 2001-2003. Volvo Cars investigations using Experian data has identified that 13,853 out of 54,317 vehicles remain in operation that have ever been registered in the following Hot and Humid states (in the US) Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Puerto Rico.’

According to the Safety Recall Report: ‘Volvo Cars investigations have identified an issue regarding the driver airbag.

In the event of a crash where the driver airbag is activated, fragments of the inflator inside the airbag may, in certain cases, project out and in worst case strike you, potentially resulting in serious injury or death.

Volvo Cars centrally has received and is aware of one rupture incident. That one rupture incident resulted in a fatality report related to this condition.’

In the description of the Safety Risk, the report states: ‘In the event of a crash with a driver airbag activation where a rupture occurs the driver might be struck by fragments from the inflator potentially resulting in serious injury or death.’

The cause: ‘If the propellant tablets are subjected to elevated moisture levels and frequent high inflator temperatures, the tablets can start to decay and form dust particles. When exposed to high temperatures, moisture leaves the tablet and when cooled down is absorbed and accumulated on the tablet’s surface. This localization of moisture leads to volumetric changes of the tablets’ surface creating dust over time. Dust increases burn surface area and thereby burn rate. Higher burn rate can result in higher combustion chamber pressure and risk of inflator rupture.’

‘To remedy the concerned vehicles, Volvo Cars needs to replace the Driver Airbag at no cost to the customer.

According to Autovista Group, ‘After being notified by Volvo in August 2019 of a field incident where it appeared that a specific type of airbag inflator ruptured upon deployment, ZF promptly informed the NHTSA and, together with Volvo, began investigating the incident,’ the airbag provider told the Daily Brief. ‘As a company committed to safety, ZF will continue to work closely with NHTSA and Volvo on this issue.’

To see the safety recall report, go to