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Motor Vehicle Recall Lawyers in Georgia

July 18, 2018

Electrical Problems With Seatbelts and Airbags Force Recall of Hyundai Vehicles

Hyundai announced recently that over half a million of its best selling Sonatas from model years 2011-2013 must be recalled due to a life-threatening seatbelt and airbag malfunction. Hyundai attributes the airbag and seatbelt malfunction to an electrical issue. The electrical short circuit will cause seatbelt “pretensioners” and airbags to become disabled in the event of a crash. To date, Hyundai is aware of four wrecks in which the electrical issue arose resulted in two deaths and four injuries. Additionally, a severe car wreck is under investigation in Canada which caused the death of one person. Also, two other crashes involving Kia Fortes vehicles killed one and injured another all because of the electrical problem. Kia has not issued a recall to date.

Airbag Control Unit to Blame

Hyundai determined that electrical damage to the airbag control unit caused the seatbelt and airbag failures. Both Hyundai and Kia purchase airbag control units from the same company. According to Car and Driver Magazine, this company was responsible for airbag control unit recalls over almost 1.5 million Fiat Chrysler vehicles in 2016.  However, Hyundai has known about the problem since 2012. Since then Hyundai investigated 2011 Sonatas to learn of the source of the issue. Hyundai did not announce a recall until February of 2018 when the automaker recalled approximately 150,000 2011 Sonatas. Hyundai subsequently expanded the recall to its present levels.

Cooperative testing and analysis between Hyundai and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) lead to a conclusion that the airbag control units suffered a manufacturing defect. The lack of a particular diode, or electrical component that controls the flow of electricity and converts it from alternating current to direct current, resulted in an airbag control unit circuit that is overloaded. Airbag control units produced after 2011 contained the necessary diode. The airbag control units which have those specific diodes show no signs of defect.

Hyundai insists that the malfunction is not widespread. Hyundai believes that its cars remain safe to drive. However, the company urges Sonata drivers who notice that the vehicle'sairbag light remainson while the caris in motion must take the car in for immediate service. The persistent airbag light could be a signal that they circuitry is no longer operational.

How do Airbags and Seatbelts Work Together?

The NHTSA estimates that airbags have saved well over 44,000 lives since car manufacturers introduced the technology in the 1970s. Now, federal law requires all new cars to contain at least frontal airbags. Wearing a seatbelt remains the most effective method of reducing your chance of suffering a fatal injury in a car crash. Airbags help limit the severity of impact on the body during a collision. 

The airbag deploys when the airbag control unit senses that the car struck an object and the unit determines that the impact was "moderate to severe." The airbag control unit sends a signal to the inflation unit which causes a chemical reaction and inflates the safety devices. Without an airbag control unit working correctly, the airbags would not inflate. 

Put Our Law Firm's Over 39 Years Of Legal Experience To Work For Your Case!

If you have been injured in any type of accident caused by someone else’s negligence, call Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law for your free consultation today. Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over 39 years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour live chat. 


Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law

17 Executive Park Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (800) LAW-NEED
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333

Category: Auto Accidents

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All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.

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