There’s a certain irony to airbag recalls. Any company that sets out to build a safety system and inadvertently develops a claymore has earned their spot in Alanis Morissette’s biggest hit. Most famous among these is the seemingly all-encompassing Takata recall, but now a new member has joined those ranks — Volvo and their ZF-designed airbags.
This isn’t the first recall Volvo has had for ZF’s airbags. Earlier this month, a recall for hundreds of thousands of S60 and S80 models from the 2000s. Now, that same issue has cropped up in the company’s V70 wagons and XC70 crossovers.
The recall affects both vehicles from the 2001 to 2007 model years, and comes on the heels of at least one death due to the faulty inflators. The airbags are said to have been safe when installed, but have degraded over the years to become potentially fatal in a collision.
For a brand as safety-minded as Volvo, this kind of recall is a big deal. It’s odd, then, that Volvo is expecting to mail a notification of the recall to owners in mid-December — two full months after the release of the recall. While it’s easy to find recall information online, many owners don’t know to look until they get a notification.
Blame for the airbags’ degradation is being placed on the atmosphere — humidity and changing temperatures caused the propellant in the ZF inflators to degrade, becoming a risk to passengers when detonated. Volvo is offering free replacements to all drivers, hopefully with inflators that are a bit more resistant to the outside world.
To check if your car is affected, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website.