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Auto blogMon, 07 Nov 2011 13:30:00 EST
General Motors is recalling around 38,000 Pontiac G8 sedans from its 2008 and 2009 model years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that the cars may have a passenger-side airbag flaw that might prevent proper deployment in certain scenarios.
According to NHTSA, the airbag might not adequately protect a fifth percentile woman - that is, a woman around four-foot, 11-inches weighing 108 pounds. The New York Times indicates that the anomaly was found during a crash test conducted by GM's Australian branch, Holden, which was testing the G8's twin (read: Commodore) for head injuries. According to that report, the test in question is specifically tailored to simulate injuries to females, so the results do not apply to men or children.
The issue has been blamed on a seat position sensor that governs airbag deployment rates. NHTSA indicates that when the front passenger seat is moved all the way forward, the faulty sensor may inappropriately trigger a 30-millisecond delay between airbag stages, potentially leading to greater injuries.
According to two separate reports in The Detroit News, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is launching investigations into 550,000 Pontiac G6 (pictured above) and 320,000 Honda Odyssey (pictured right) models. The G6 models are all from the 2005 to 2007 model years, while the Odyssey minivans are from the 2003 and 2004 model years. The two NHTSA probes are not related.
In the case of the G6, this is an upgrade to an original investigation that started in February after NHTSA received "hundreds of reports" that the brake lights on these cars may malfunction. According to The Detroit News, the lights may come on when the brake pedal is not depressed, and likewise, the brake lights may not illuminate when the pedal has been pushed. General Motors was able to provide NHTSA with a significant number of warranty claims, including 1,100 reports that could potentially relate to this problem, one of which indicates a vehicle crash.
For Honda, the NHTSA probe concerns airbags that may deploy unexpectedly. The government agency received six complaints from 2003-04 Odyssey owners saying that the front airbags suddenly went off without a crash. The Detroit News reports that three of the six owners sustained injuries from these incidents. Additionally, NHTSA has received 41 complaints from owners saying the vehicle's airbag warning light had illuminated.
When an old car or truck offers its dying breath in your driveway and you just don't have the financial or mechanical wherewithal to resuscitate it yet again, you traditionally have to go to the trouble of calling a flatbed or a tow truck to come haul it away. That usually helps to put a few bucks in your wallet and helps recycle some of the vehicle's parts, but the transaction doesn't seem as final or perversely satisfying as the dispatch service that this New Way Cobra Magnum garbage truck offers.
Okay, okay, so this refuse hauler isn't actually designed for this sort of thing, but it's oddly comforting to know that a sanitation truck can compact a hapless Pontiac Grand Am into oblivion. Next time, we won't feel so guilty about slipping that rusty charcoal grille onto the curb next to the cans on garbage day. Watch the carnage by scrolling below.