Defective TRW Crash Sensors May Cause Seat Belt and Airbag Failure

Posted on
Scott McCracken
#airbags-and-seat-belts #investigation
ZF Headquarters

ACUs are designed to sense a vehicle crash. 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.

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.

Ram trucks under investigation


Technically, the Dodge Ram line of trucks was rebranded to just Ram trucks in the 2012 model year.

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 Ram 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.

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 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