General Motors Airbag Failures

In August 2021, Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel filed a class action lawsuit in federal court in Michigan on behalf of GM vehicle buyers alleging that for more than a decade, General Motors hid defects in its trucks and SUVs that prevented airbags from deploying and seatbelts from tightening during crashes.

As detailed in the complaint, plaintiffs claim that GM vehicles such as the Silverado, Tahoe, Astro and Trailblazer have been manufactured with an issue in their sensing and diagnostic modules, or SDMs, that prevent airbag and seatbelt deployment just 45 milliseconds after a crash begins, creating dangerous and sometimes fatal outcomes in crashes that last longer than that minuscule period.

This case involves a dangerous defect that compromises these critical safety systems in millions of GM trucks and SUVs. When working properly, during a frontal crash of sufficient severity, the seatbelts should tighten to hold the vehicle occupants in place, and the airbags should inflate to protect them from hard impacts. A defect in GM trucks and SUVs, however, can prevent seatbelt tightening and airbag deployment during certain types of crashes, leaving vehicle occupants without protection exactly when they need it most.

“Despite its knowledge of the defect and its impact on safety, GM has concealed the defect and failed to recall or repair the class vehicles, presumably to avoid the significant costs and inconveniences of recalling millions of vehicles,” the complaint states. “GM has hidden the defect in spite of its obligation to disclose it, misrepresented the class vehicles to be safe, and continued to sell them to consumers.”

The affected vehicles include all vehicles in the United States that contain the SDM Calibration Defect that were manufactured, sold, distributed, or leased by a class member after July 10, 2009. The list includes:


  • Escalade (1998-2000, 2002-2006, 2007-2014)
  • Escalade ESV (2007-2014)
  • Escalade Hybrid (2009-2013)
  • SRX (2004-2009, 2010-2014)


  • Yukon (1999-2014)
  • Yukon XL (2000-2014)
  • Envoy (1998-2000, 2002-2009)
  • Acadia (2007-2014)
  • Terrain (2010-2014)


  • Tracker (1999-2004)
  • Suburban (1999, 2000-2006, 2007-2014)
  • Blazer (1999-2005)
  • TrailBlazer (2001-2009)
  • Traverse (2008-2014)
  • Silverado (1998-2014)
  • Tahoe (1994-2014)
  • Equinox (2004-2014)
  • Trax (2015-2014)
  • GMT800 Heavy Duty Truck (2000-2007)
  • C1500 and K1500 (1999-2000)
  • Sierra (1999-2000)
  • Astro (1999-2005)


  • Encore (2012-2014)
  • Enclave (2008-2014)
  • Rainier (2004-2014)


  • Trooper (1999-2002)
  • Amigo and Rodeo (1998-2004)
  • VehiCROSS (1999-2001)
  • Axiom (2001-2004)
  • Ascender (2002-2008)
  • H-Series (2003-2014)

Contact Us

If you have one of the GM vehicles with the alleged airbag defect and are interested in learning more about the lawsuit and your legal rights, please contact us today using the form below.

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