A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation into the front passenger-side airbag system in the first-generation Chevy Volt has now been closed.
The investigation was opened back in 2019 after the NHTSA received a large number of complaints related to the front passenger-side airbag system in the 2012-2013 Chevy Volt. The problem was eventually traced back to the airbag sensor mat in the passenger seat, which is intended to detect a child seat or a smaller occupant that could potentially be injured by the airbag deployment. According to Car Complaints, the passenger side sensor mat could become bunch up and fold over itself, causing the airbag malfunction indicator light to appear on the vehicle’s instrument panel. This condition would also prevent the passenger side front and knee airbags from deploying in a crash.
The NHTSA investigation found no injuries or deaths related to this problem. GM’s warranty data also shows a low repair rate for this problem, despite the affected vehicles having been on the road for 10 years. General Motors has also now created a program to replace the passenger sensing systems in 2012 and 2013 model year Chevy Volt vehicles, remedying the issue. Because there were no injuries or deaths related to this problem and a repair program is now in place, NHTSA was able to close its investigation.
In a statement, NHTSA said the closing of this investigation “does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety related defect does not exist. The agency reserves the right to take additional action if warranted by new circumstances.” Interested parties can read the findings of the safety watchdog’s investigation via NHTSA’s website at this link.