Defective TRW Crash Sensors May Cause Seat Belt and Airbag Failure

Key Points

  • Electrical overstress is disabling the airbags in certain Acura vehicles with ZF-TRW airbag control units.
  • The units contain circuit-protecting diodes that shut the system down when supplied with too much voltage.
  • The government has been investigating these issues since March of 2018.
ZF corporate headquarters with the sign out front and towering building in the back.
Posted on
Author
Scott McCracken
Tagged
#airbags-and-seat-belts #investigation #lawsuit

An application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) within the ACU pulls in electrical signals from crash sensors located throughout the vehicle. When a crash is detected, the ACU determines which airbags need to be deployed and when to activate the seat belt pretensioners.

ZF-TRW control units were manufactured without circuit-protecting diodes. When the ASIC is supplied with too much current or voltage, it’ll shut down the ACU and, in turn, disable the airbags and pretensioners.

At this time the problem is believed to be responsible for as many as eight deaths.

One Step Away from a Recall

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been investigating these ACUs since March of 2018. The original investigation opened following claims that airbags hadn’t deployed during frontal crashes with some Hyundai and Kia vehicles.

Both Hyundai and Kia have issued recalls related to the ACUs.

Hyundai told the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) that their research revealed the airbags were failing.

”…post-collision inspections of the air bag control units (ACUs) showing that an electrical overstress condition (EOS) of an ACU electronic component occurred in three of the crashes, and that the fourth ACU is under evaluation for the same concern.”

The investigation has been upgraded

In April 2019, NHTSA upgraded their investigation to an engineering analysis. This came after two major crashes involving Toyota Corollas where the airbags didn’t deploy. There was one fatality.

An "engineering analysis" is the final step before a recall, but does not always mean that will be ordered.

Acura and Honda Vehicles Under Investigation

MakeModelYears
AcuraRLX2014-2019
TLX2015-2017
TSX2012-2014
HondaAccord2013-2015
Civic2012-2015
CR-V2012-2017
Fit2012-2017
Ridgeline2012-2014

Class-Action Lawsuit

Attorneys with Gibbs Law Group LLP are investigating a TRW airbag module class action lawsuit after federal investigators expanded their investigation of a potential defect in airbag control units (ACUs) manufactured by TRW.

If you own one of these vehicles, the class action attorneys at Gibbs Law Group would like to speak with you.

Generations Where This Problem Has Been Reported

This problem has popped up in the following Acura generations.

Most years within a generation share the same parts and manufacturing process. You can also expect them to share the same problems. So while it may not be a problem in every year yet, it's worth looking out for.

  1. 1st Generation RLX

    Years
    2014–2020
    Reliability
    16th of 30
    PainRank
    1.25
    Complaints
    20
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a RLX
  2. 1st Generation RSX

    Years
    2002–2006
    Reliability
    18th of 30
    PainRank
    2.77
    Complaints
    20
    Continue
  3. 1st Generation TLX

    Years
    2015–2020
    Reliability
    29th of 30
    PainRank
    7.49
    Complaints
    204
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a TLX

OK, Now What?

Maybe you've experienced this problem. Maybe you're concerned you will soon. Whatever the reason, here's a handful of things you can do to make sure it gets the attention it deserves.

  1. File Your Complaint

    CarComplaints.com is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases.

    Add a Complaint
  2. Notify CAS

    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits.

    Notify The CAS
  3. Report a Safety Concern

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues.

    Report to NHTSA