The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating airbag failures in the 2001 and 2002 Hyundai Elantra.
More than 150,000 of the economy-priced Korean sedans are covered by the investigation.
"The airbag system is susceptible to airbag light illumination and airbag non-deployment or inadvertent deployment from liquid contamination of the airbag control module," according to the NHTSA Web site.
The safety agency reported two fatalities occurred in crashes involving the Elantra when the airbag warning light was illuminated.
In a previous report earlier this year, NHTSA cited the results of the investigation of those deadly accidents.
"Post inspection and analysis indicate the airbag light had illuminated prior to the crash on both vehicles," NHTSA said on its Web site. In the first accident, "the center console covering the airbag control module was removed. The module and the main connector were covered with a brown sticky substance, possibly spilled liquid since the cup holders are positioned above the control module," according to NHTSA.
The NHTSA Web site reported that the "recovered fault codes indicate a prior short circuit condition that most likely would shut down the airbag control module," and prevent airbag deployment.
In the second fatal crash, NHTSA was told the airbag warning light had come on several months prior to the accident.
The safety agency and Hyundai have received 501 consumer complaints concerning the airbag system failures in the Elantra. The automaker has repaired the airbag system in 9,110 Elantra sedans under warranty claims, according to the NHTSA Web site.
The safety agency stated that it is also aware of "6 incidents of seat belt pretensioner and airbag deployments due to liquid spills," in the Elantra.
The owner of a 2002 Hyundai Elantra GLS in Hartford, New York reported a recent airbag warning light failure to ConsumerAfairs.Com.
The dealer told the Elantra owner that the "airbag system will not function" because the airbag module was no longer working. The airbag repair cost, paid by the consumer, was $560.
The Elantra is not the only Hyundai to experience an airbag failure according to a ConsumerAffairs.Com reader in Miami.
"Both of my daughters were involved in a roll-over accident in their 2006 Hyundai Tucson, he said. "The impact caused the Tucson to roll-over several times. None of the airbags deployed in the accident," he told ConsumerAffairs.Com.
"Thankfully, my daughters escaped with only minor injuries but I cannot believe not one airbag deployed given the severity of the accident," he said.
The Hyundai dealer told his Miami customer that the airbag failure was "a safety measure to reduce further injury."
A Canadian owner of a Hyundai Santa Fe also experienced an airbag warning light failure in his SUV. So far, the Hyundai dealer is unable to repair the warning light problem, he said.
Hyundai customers relations "ordered a new harness for wiring," the owner said but there is "no improvement."
The Canadian Hyundai owner is demanding the Korean automaker refund the money he paid for the Santa Fe and take the vehicle back.
"This vehicle has been faulty since its delivery to me, he said. "After 5 attempts to fix the vehicle even the service manager is at wits end."
NHTSA is also investigating Hyundai vehicles for catastrophic suspension failure.
Federal safety investigators are examining consumer complaints of suspension failure, some at high rates of speed, in the 2001 model year Hyundai Santa Fe.
Two consumers reported to NHTSA that their vehicle "nearly rolled over" following the suspension failure.
The cause of the failures appears to be excessive corrosion in the vehicle suspension and federal safety investigators want to know if the Hyundai Santa Fe suspension rusts to the point of breaking.
NHTSA has received allegations that the subframe on the Hyundai Sonata can rust to the point of causing suspension failure as well.
The agency has received 40 consumer complaints about severe corrosion in the 1999 through 2002 model year Sonatas.
Consumers have reported "fist-sized holes in the frame" that can cause the suspension control arm to detach from the vehicle, according to federal safety investigators.
The result can be "wheel collapse or separation, half shaft detachment resulting in sudden vehicle disablement and or steering anomalies," according to the NHTSA Web site.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating airbag failures in the 2001 and 2002 Hyundai Elantra....