Federal safety regulators are investigating consumer reports of air bag failure, and inadvertent deployment in the 2001 to 2003 Hyundai Elantra.
Two people were killed in Elantra crashes when the air bags failed to deploy, according to the NHTSA report.
As many as 340,000 cars could eventually be affected by the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) probe.
The NHTSA Office of Defect Investigation (ODI) has received 35 consumer reports of the air bag light illumination as well.
NHTSA investigated two fatal accidents involving the Elantra and failed air bags.
Post inspection and analysis indicate the air bag light had illuminated prior to the crash on both vehicles, NHTSA reported on its Web site. The center console covering the air bag 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 document states that the recovered fault codes indicate a prior short circuit condition that most likely would shut down the air bag control module, and prevent air bag deployment.
In the second fatal crash, NHTSA was told the air bag warning light had come on several months prior to the accident.
Three consumers complained to NHTSA that the air bag light came on and the air bag deployed without a crash and without warning.
NHTSA received 10 consumer complaints reporting a corroded or wet air bag control module. The agency received 5 reports of loose wiring associated with the control module.
The remaining 20 reports complained only of air bag warning light illumination.