Defective TRW Crash Sensors May Cause Seat Belt and Airbag Failure

There's growing concern that some sort of electrical overstress is messing with airbag control units (ACU) in certain Ram trucks.

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.

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.

Honda and Acura Vehicles Under Investigation

Make Model Years
Ram 1500 2009-2012*
  2500 2010-2012*
  3500 2010-2012*
  4500 2011-2012*
  5500 2011-2012*

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.

Vehicles That Might Have This Problem

Model Generation Years PainRank
4500 1st Gen 2012–2016 0.91
5500 1st Gen 2012–2016 0.38

OK, Now What?

Maybe you've experienced this problem. Maybe you're concerned you will soon. Whatever the reason, you can help 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

  4. Contact Ram

    Ram Support

    P.O. Box 21-8004 Auburn Hills MI 48321-8004 USA

    This site is not affiliated with Ram.