2016 Chevrolet Malibu recalled twice in one week for airbag issues (but now, Takata’s to blame)


On Wednesday, General Motors issued a recall for the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu to fix a problem with the car’s airbags. Today, the Detroit automaker announced a second Malibu recall, and again, it’s meant to repair the car’s airbag system.

The previous airbag problem was rooted in the chemicals that supplier Key Safety Systems uses to deploy the devices during collisions. This new recall, however, stems from a structural problem that can affect the airbag modules’ stability. Interestingly, the modules in question were manufactured by struggling Japanese supplier Takata–although they aren’t prone to explosion the way that some other Takata devices are.

As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explains in a defect report for the 2016 Malibu, “The two weld studs that mount the front and rear side impact airbag…inflators to the seat frame may fracture and separate during airbag deployment.” If that happens during an accident, airbags can separate from their seats, reducing their effectiveness to shield passengers from injury.

The recall affects 2016 Malibu vehicles built between February 16, 2016 and March 5, 2016. GM estimates that 3,137 vehicles registered in the U.S. are included in the recall.

GM will mail recall notices to owners, asking them to take their vehicles to Chevrolet dealers for service. Dealers will replace the Malibu’s side air bag modules at no charge.

If you own one of these vehicles and have further questions, you’re encouraged to call Chevrolet customer service at 800-222-1020 and ask about recall #31820. You can also call NHTSA at 888-327-4236 and ask about safety campaign #16V151000.

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