— Chevy Volt passenger airbag sensor problems are under a federal investigation after complaints about illuminated passenger airbag warning lights and failures of the frontal and knee airbags.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has received at least 17 complaints about 2012-2013 Chevrolet Volt passenger sensing systems for the frontal passenger and knee airbags.
Drivers report the sensors, located under the passenger seat trim covers, cause the sensing system failures and the illumination of the "Service Airbag" messages, airbag status warning lights and the airbag readiness lights.
Based on complaints from Volt drivers, a unifying theme is the extreme expense of replacing the sensors.
"Passenger front seat sensor for airbag system malfunctions, resulting in passenger airbag being turned off while adult passenger is in seat. This occurs when the vehicle is moving or stationary and both in town and on the highway. Dealer indicated this repair would cost nearly $1000 (~$500 in parts and over $400 labor)."
"Dealer attempted to reproduce problem, but unable. Unfortunately, this is $800+ repair with no guaranteed outcome. This problem has been reported by other volt owners in internet posts. Would like to know if gm has any fixes not known to dealer."
"The passenger airbag wont work because the sensor in the seat is broken. Chevy is charging over $1,000 to repair. When reading online this is happening to a lot of people and the repair cost is extremely high for something that is completely chevy's fault."
NHTSA says the preliminary investigation will determine if nearly 46,000 Chevrolet Volts should be recalled by General Motors.
CarComplaints.com will update our website with results of the investigation.