21 Mar

Volvo Issues Recall Over Side-Curtain Air Bag Defect

Rockleigh, N.J. – Mar. 21, 2017 – Volvo Cars has recalled more than 5,500 vehicles due to a serious side-curtain air bag defect. The recall impacts Volvo S90 sedans manufactured between November 2016 and January 2017, as well as V90 Cross Country and XC90 luxury sports utility vehicles produced over the same span, according to documents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Defect

The bolts securing side-curtain air bag structures in these models are likely to break due to manufacturing error. Hydrogen embrittlement is the primary cause, an issue that arose due to variability in the bolt fabrication process. Once applied, the fasteners quickly deteriorate, showing signs of failure within 48 hours installation. Fixtures that manage to effectively secure side-curtain air bag assemblies for at least 48 hours are deemed structurally sound, while those that fail or falter must be replaced.

The defect poses serious safety risks, as the side-curtain air bags may not deploy properly in the event of a crash. No injuries have been connected to this defect.

Timeline of Events

Engineers at the Swedish automaker first caught wind of the defect in early February, when a report chronicling the discovery of broken bolts in one vehicle was submitted to corporate. Volvo representatives investigated the event further and found that the fasteners had come from the side-curtain air bag assembly. The automaker then contacted the parts supplier, Autoliv Poland, and reported the issue.

On Feb. 10, Volvo’s Critical Concern Management Team elected to start the recall process. The internal group then blocked new vehicles containing the faulty bolts from shipping out three days later. Volvo notified the NHTSA officials and dealers Feb. 16.

The Solution

The automaker has ordered dealers to replace the bolts free of charge, according to NHTSA documentation. Owners are expected to receive notification April 1.

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