Ottawa, Ontario – Transport Canada is advising the owners of 1996 and 1997 model-year Pontiac Grand Am models that certain conditions can cause a malfunction in the vehicle’s airbag computer. The malfunction could result in the sudden deployment of the driver, passenger, or both frontal airbags, without the vehicle being involved in a crash.
In a number of occurrences, substantial amounts of water entering the vehicle have resulted in damage to the airbag computer, located on the vehicle’s floor pan. Typically, the red airbag warning light will come on, indicating that a system fault is present.
Transport Canada recommends that owners of these vehicles have the interior floor examined for the presence of water, and have the airbag computer examined for signs of corrosion. If owners notice, or have noticed that the airbag warning light stays on, the vehicle should not be driven, and should be towed to a repair facility for inspection.
In 2003, General Motors of Canada issued a Notice of Defect, meeting the requirements of section 10 of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, informing owners of the concern at that time. Transport Canada says that it appears a number of current owners are not aware of the concern, and that water may have entered the vehicle, damaging the airbag computer and other vehicle components. Transport Canada says that it is important for vehicle owners to recognize that as vehicles age in the Canadian environment, corrosion takes place and can influence vehicle operation and safety.