Hyundai Motor America will recall more than half a million Sonata Hybrid vehicles containing faulty airbag control units that can potentially endanger occupants.
The company originally sent the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) a safety recall report on Feb. 27 stating they would recall 154,753 2011 Hyundai Sonata vehicles built between Dec. 11, 2009 and Sept. 29, 2010.
Hyundai expanded that recall on April 18, 2018 to include an additional 425,305 2012-2013 Hyundai Sonata and 2011-2012 Sonata Hybrid vehicles.
The affected vehicles contain Airbag Control Units (ACU) that detect crashes and control safety system deployment, including airbags and seat belt pretensioners. Circuitry within the control units can be damaged, causing airbag and pretensioner failure in crash situations.
Hyundai first learned of an airbag failure after a collision in February 2012. In June of that year, Hyundai engineers inspected the vehicle and found no crash event recorded by its ACU. Hyundai contacted component manufacturer ZF TRW of Livonia, Michigan for assistance, and further ACU inspection led investigators to believe aftermarket accessories caused circuitry failure inside the ACU.
The company learned of a second airbag failure in May 2015. Inspection of the ACU found circuitry damage as well. The company received two additional reports between July and November 2016, causing engineers to “re-assess” their previous conclusion.
During Hyundai’s investigation, the NHTSA’s Office of Defect Investigations contacted Hyundai for follow up information regarding one of the four vehicles under investigation. The company responded to ODI’s request and continued their investigation.
Hyundai continued further testing between March 19 and March 28, 2018. The company conducted seven crash tests developed both by Hyundai research and development as well as the company’s third-party engineering firm. The tests, monitored by NHTSA officials, replicated the defect three of the seven times. Engineers found wire harness damage in two of those tests.
Hyundai is still developing the remedy for this problem. They expect the recall to begin April 20, 2018. Owners can contact Hyundai customer service at 1-855-371-9460. Hyundai’s number for this recall is 174. Hyundai consumers can also visit the NHTSA’s website and enter their VIN to see if their vehicle is included in any recalls.
Your vehicle’s manufacturer is legally required to fix any recalled problems for free. If the dealership refuses to fix the part or tries to charge you for the repair, contact the manufacturer immediately. The Highway Safety Act of 1970, which created the NHTSA, requires car manufacturers to pay for the recall and replacement of a defective part.
If the manufacturer fails to repair, replace, repurchase, or provide your recalled vehicle’s loss value, they are violating the warranty and a lawyer may be able to assist you.
Lemon law attorneys help their clients by dealing directly with the manufacturer on the clients’ behalf, working to promptly resolve the issue and get their clients back on the road. Thanks to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, attorneys can seek their fees directly from the manufacturer, meaning a client can obtain legal counsel without having to pay attorneys’ fees directly out of pocket.