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ARC Automotive Faces Lawsuits Over Exploding Airbag Inflators

ARC Automotive Inc. is an international provider of airbag inflator technology facing lawsuit claims for defective inflators. These airbag inflators may explode and injure vehicle occupants and have been placed in over 30 million vehicles manufactured in the past decade.

Why Are ARC Airbags Defective?

ARC uses dangerous phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate (“PSAN”) to inflate its airbags  

During a collision, airbags fire during impact to protect drivers and passengers from striking the inside of the car or other objects. The airbag cushion inflates gas to place a barrier between occupants and the vehicle or surrounding things.

Inflators, small metal canisters containing chemical propellant, cause airbags to fire on impact. The propellant is located within the toroidal canister, meaning ARC inflators resemble small, circular rings. On impact, the propellant heats the gas, which fills the airbag with air.

The lawsuit alleges that ARC airbags use a hazardous gas known as phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate, or PSAN, to inflate their airbags. PSAN is known to be highly volatile when used in vehicle airbags, but it remains widely used because it is a cost-effective alternative chemical propellant.

As pressure increases in the inflator, the volatility of PSAN causes it to burn faster, resulting in over-pressurization, which can cause the canister to explode. If the canister explodes, the metal from the canister shatters, and the shards can pierce through the airbag cushion and toward the driver and passengers.

ARC manufacturing practices can increase the likelihood of an explosion caused by “weld flash”  

In addition to using PSAN, the welding method used to fuse the canister increases the chances of exploding.
The toroidal canister containing the PSAN is made up of two metal pieces welded together in a way that causes the softened metal to splash outside of the weld location, creating “weld flash.” Hardened metal pieces form outside the weld area so that when an airbag deploys, the pieces fall off of the canister and wholly or partially block the gas's exit to escape the canister. Blocking increases pressurization within the inflator and the likelihood of over-pressurization and an exploded canister. 
Manufacturers can specify welding parameters to ensure weld flash is prevented during or removed after welding is complete. However, ARC did not take such measures when manufacturing its airbags.

Who is Affected By ARC Defective Airbags? 

Several vehicle recalls have been implemented due to the dangers of ARC’s PSAN inflators. These recalled vehicle makes include:  

  • Buick  
  • Volkswagen  
  • Hyundai 
  • BMW 
  • Ford 
  • General Motors  
  • Kia  
  • Chevrolet 
  • Audi 
Deployed airbag

Meyers & Flowers Files the First Lawsuits Against ARC Automotive for Defective Airbags 

Meyers & Flowers stands for your safety. In September 2022, Meyers & Flowers filed the first of several lawsuits against ARC Automotive, Inc. (ARC) for their role in manufacturing faulty and dangerous car airbags.
ARC and the other defendants named in the lawsuit put profit over people. This carelessness in using PSAN inflators has caused numerous injuries and deaths across the country, which will only continue until all ARC PSAN inflators are off the road. At Meyers & Flowers, we believe anything short of a widespread recall unnecessarily puts unsuspecting drivers at serious risk.
Meyers & Flowers prioritizes the safety of you and your loved ones, especially on the road. If you or someone you know has been involved in a traffic crash resulting in the deployment of an ARC PSAN inflator, call 630-576-9696 for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. 

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