Investigation Launched into Some Suzuki Grand Vitara and SX4 Vehicles
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has commenced an investigation into model year 2006-2011 Suzuki Grand Vitara and 2007-2011 Suzuki SX4 vehicles.
The NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has received 128 complaints that allege problems with the occupant classification system (OCS) for the front passenger seat in the affected Suzuki Grand Vitara and SX4 vehicles.
About half of the complaints appear to report airbag warning light illumination. Other complaints report passenger seatbelt indicator light or passenger airbag off light illumination typically associated with OCS related problems.
Other complaints report vehicles experiencing OCS related problems and/or that the passenger airbag off light illuminated when adult or young adult passengers were sitting in the front seats (i.e., they should not have been classified as children.)
In addition, Suzuki issued two service bulletins to address OCS related issues. The first bulletin addresses an open-circuit condition in the OCS sensor-mat located in the front passenger seat bottom cushion assembly in the vehicles described above. When this failure occurs, the airbag warning light and passenger seatbelt indicator light illuminate and a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) B1312 is stored in the airbag control module.
In September 2012, Suzuki notified the affected owners by mail and issued a special coverage for this problem for 10 years or 120,000 miles from the date of first use of the vehicle to replace the front passenger seat cushion assembly if needed. As explained in the owner letter, Suzuki says the passenger frontal airbag will remain active for all type/size occupants. This means the airbag will not be suppressed for a child or small adult sitting in the front passenger seat.
The second bulletin addresses air bag warning light illumination when DTC B1318 is set on model year 2009 Grand Vitara and SX4 vehicles. This problem is apparently caused by a programming error related to detecting a change or shifting in load on the front passenger seat. The remedy is to re-flash the occupant control module software.
ODI has opened a Preliminary Evaluation has been opened to investigate the OCS sensor-mat open-circuit problem (DTC 1312), as well as the other issues described above. At the conclusion of this evaluation, ODI will determine if the issues warrant further investigation.
The ODI reports cited above can be reviewed online.