A recall has been issued for 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco sedans made by General Motors, warns the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Engineers at GM and NHTSA have determined that software issues with the sensors in the car's air bag and safety belt safety systems may malfunction and cause the safety devices to fail.
The recall affects a small number of the latest Chevy Malibu Eco sedans, a mild hybrid car which the engineers at Consumer Reports recently bought and is currently in testing at our dedicated track.
At issue is the sensing and diagnostic module (SDM) in about 4,300 of the 2013 Malibu Eco sedans. After hard braking and during "aggressive turning maneuvers," the SDM may "reset itself" and if it senses a possible roll-over, the roof rail air bags may unintentionally deploy. The faulty programming may also prevent the SDM from deploying the air bags or engaging the seat belt pre-tensioners during an actual collision, and thereby increasing the danger of injury to the car's occupants.
According to Reuters, GM engineers discovered the safety concerns during tests in which one of the cars "was performing extreme maneuvers."
In our initial evaluation of the new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco, we have found that the new design has brought considerable improvements over the previous generation Chevrolet Malibu. We're currently unaware if our new Malibu Eco is part of the recall notice, but will be notified if it is. And so far, our engineers have yet to experience any malfunctioning air bags or seat belts as our Malibu Eco goes through the usual track test and performance evaluations at Consumer Reports.
GM is expected on June 1 to notify 2013 Malibu Eco owners affect by this safety issue to bring their hybrid cars in to local dealerships where mechanics will reprogram the SDM for free.
For more information, consumers can call Chevrolet toll-free (800-630-2438) and refer to GM safety recall campaign number 12102 or go to the NHTSA website: www.SaferCar.gov.