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The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is ostensible to be a rough-and-tumble, body-on-frame, plain behind axle-having pickup that can hoop off-road trails with ease. And yet, a series of trucks’ airbags are deploying on amiable off-road trails, withdrawal owners with vital hassles. Here’s what’s going on.
Back in May, a reader sent Jalopnik a tip about Chevrolet Colorado airbags deploying off-road. “As a ZR2 owners myself, we am unequivocally endangered about holding my lorry off cement now,” he told us after reading several complaints on owners forums. we started looking into it.
Then, this past Saturday, a Pennsylvania lorry motorist named Matt Gotowchikow posted a video onto Facebook display a off-road various of a Colorado—the big, bad ZR2—popping a side screen airbags while navigating what appears to be a comparatively amiable trail.
At about 13 seconds into a video, a slow-traveling lorry produces a shrill pop, and a voice is listened screaming, repelled from a bomb airbag deployment—a deployment whose timing doesn’t seem to conform with any utterly heavy barrier on a trail.
I reached out to Matt over a phone to learn about what happened. He told me that he was during an off-road fundraiser for autism in Pottsville, Pennsylvania in his two-door 2011 Jeep Wrangler, when trade started to slow. The organisation in front of him was carrying difficulty traversing one of a many formidable obstacles on a comparatively amiable “advanced green” trail; particularly, a white Chevy ZR2 was struggling to find a right line adult and over a rock.
So Matt and his organisation stepped out of their rigs, and walked adult a route to observe a lorry try a climb. “This was like a third or fourth [attempt], and we pronounced ‘you know what, I’m gonna video this,’” Matt told me.
So he did. That’s when a apparently batch Chevy Colorado ZR2 bumped a approach over a rock, and was home free. At least, that’s what it seemed like until a automobile trafficked over adult a incline. “They’re roughly to a stop, and we can hear a pop, and we see a airbag come down, and we hear a lady scream,” Matt said.
“After that, a initial thing we listened was OnStar was job them to make certain they were okay.” Describing what caused a airbag to go, Matt told me: “No jarring, no strike or any impact of any form [triggered it]. It was usually unequivocally bizarre.”
And it’s not a usually time this has happened.
Asked about a spate of identical Chevy Colorado airbag deployment complaints, a Chevrolet orator said: “We are wakeful of this conditions duty on singular occasions. The reason it would start is that head-curtain airbags are designed to muster if a intuiting complement predicts that a automobile is about to hurl on a side.“
But owners contend that runs opposite to a off-roading this truck’s ostensible to be means of.
After articulate with Matt, we was means to get in hold with a truck’s owner, David Kostura, who reliable Matt’s account, and sent me a print above with a outline “I’m heartbroken.”
While Kostura certified that he maybe should have driven his gas 2018 Colorado ZR2 with 2,700 miles on a time some-more slowly, he pronounced a route seemed sincerely mild, utterly in a territory where a airbags deployed. He guesses that was usually about a 6 to 7 grade incline.
“[The airbag] should have went off milliseconds after a lorry responded to a biggest stone that we do see in that video,” he said.
A lifelong GM customer, Kostura is upset, and wants GM to compensate to correct a now locked-up chair belts, a shop-worn headliner, and a airbags. But, after reading about identical incidents online, he’s endangered that this won’t happen.
“If they’re going to try and weasel their approach out of this, we unequivocally don’t wish anything to do with a lorry anymore,” he told me over a phone, clearly worried by a fact that this happened to a lorry heavily marketed as a hard-core off-roader.
He says his automobile is now during a dealership being assessed by a third celebration hired by GM.
A Press Truck Had The Same Problem
This is not a initial time this has happened in a Chevrolet Colorado, as a reader who sent Jalopnik a initial tip forked out in his email. He associated us to a Kelley Blue Book examination above, that facilities a Z71 indication press automobile with airbags swinging from a A-pillar.
“Only a Colorado managed to sucker-punch us in a conduct by casually deploying a side screen airbags while pushing on a neat glow highway during breakneck speeds trimming from 5 to 7 miles an hour,” a KBB horde says in a video, before thereafter opining that this was expected “a weird incident.”
It Happened On The Dunes
But this wasn’t a weird incident, and Matt’s video isn’t a usually one proof as much. That shave he posted got lots of folks articulate about this issue, bringing to my courtesy a series of other cases of Colorados floating their airbags while off-road. Just demeanour during a video above that someone posted in a comments of Matt’s clip.
I admittedly don’t know many about a conditions surrounding this truck’s off-road excursion, yet a video clearly shows a black Colorado ripping donuts on silt dunes, and a side screen airbags deploying for what looks like no apparent reason.
Another Low-Speed ZR2 Incident in California
Matt’s video also helped me get in hold with another ZR2 owners in California, who wanted to sojourn unknown out of regard that this story could in some approach impact a explain he’s filing with GM. That’s his lorry above.
The owners told me he was usually cruising in his code new $47,000 diesel Colorado ZR2 on “easy and moderate” mud trails nearby his in-laws in a San Bernardino National Forest area, when he perceived an upsetting surprise.
“On my approach behind to asphalt, we came around a turn, and went over a garland of large speed rough bumps,” he told me. “They were unequivocally gradual…they weren’t hilly bumps with discerning falloffs.”
The ZR2 owners told me he gathering over a initial strike during about 5 mph, thereafter over a second, before realizing a undulations were a bit bigger than he’d thought, so he practical a brakes. “It was a unequivocally curvy, not aggressive, imperishable jostling of a truck. And a airbags deployed during a finish of a second bump,” he told me.
“I sat there in shock,” he said. OnStar thereafter called and put him in hold with a draw truck, yet a owners of a low-mileage off-road lorry declined a tow, and instead opted to cut out a airbags patience his view, and expostulate behind to where he was staying.
Like Kostura’s truck, a automobile ran usually excellent after a deployment, solely something associated to a seatbelt tensioners had apparently activated, preventing a belts from releasing all a approach from their retracted positions. And, given he didn’t wish to expostulate scarcely 100 miles on a highway behind to his place yet a functioning seatbelt, a Colorado owners had his lorry towed to a dealership to a balance of over $300.
The motorist and his mother don’t consider they should have to compensate for this, given it happened on a “standard, dusty, easy trail”—particularly on a territory that a motorist describes as “not even moderate.” His idea is to have GM cover a let car, a tow, and a repair.
It’s value mentioning that this unknown owners is a outrageous fan of his ZR2, that he bought privately to daily expostulate and to take off-road. He raved forever about it on a phone with me, saying: “I adore my truck… all about it is overwhelming solely for a foolish airbag deployment thing.”
One Guy Was Left With a Huge Repair Bill
But nothing of these stories is as hapless as Joe Finn’s, given after his airbag went off on his 2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 during amiable off-road driving, he pronounced GM refused to compensate a correct check that his word association estimated would sum $6,512.74 (see below).
His story has been lonesome on GM-Trucks.com, yet we got in hold with him to get a some-more minute account.
Finn, who lives nearby a Sequoia National Forest in California, was out one Saturday in Apr exploring some mud roads nearby his house, formulation to go camping. He told me over a phone what a highway conditions were like. “I was in four-wheel expostulate low, we was in off-road mode, we was not going fast, and we was pushing on a two-track highway that had low ruts, he said. “It had we relocating behind and forth, yet delayed going.”
That’s when Finn says a right side forsaken and leaned a lorry roughly 20 degrees, and thereafter things went south.
“I was climbing uphill, and [the truck] leaned over to a right…Yeah, a airbags went off. OnStar came on, we managed to get a lorry started, tucked a airbags behind in, and gathering it home.”
Two days later, he took a lorry to a dealer, and filed a explain with GM patron care.
Finn says GM thereafter had third-party investigators take a demeanour during a vehicle, and as shown in a minute to a left, GM eventually dynamic that it was not going to cover repairs.
“After clever review of your case, nothing of a accessible information suggests that a product explain has any merit,” a note reads. “Based on a contribution provided, General motors is incompetent to assume shortcoming or indemnification and we advise that we solve this matter by your word carrier.”
And that’s what Finn finished adult doing. He filed an word explain by Geico, that finished adult covering roughly $4,000 of a over $5,000 repair. (This sum correct cost was considerably reduce than Geico’s $6,512.74 estimate, Finn told me, given he reused a aged superstar and airbag procedure given they seemed in good shape. This resulted in Finn profitable a sum of about $1,000 out of slot when all was pronounced and done).
Finn says GM refused to cover repairs given of electrical modifications and repairs found on a vehicle, pasting a following message—allegedly from a Chevy Trucks Facebook page—to a Coloradofans messaging board:
It was suggested that repairs to your Colorado and aftermarket wiring competence have had some impact in a deployment. It was suggested that we competence wish to record an word explain as well. We know this wasn’t a outcome we were anticipating for, yet we contingency mount behind this decision.
The ZR2 owners told me he had commissioned LED headlights, LED fog-lights, a winch connected directly to battery power, and an electric close for a tailgate.
That final modification, that allows for a pivotal fob switches to close and clear a tailgate instead of carrying to insert a key, compulsory Finn to daub into a wiring harness. It’s a fairly common mod in a Colorado community; here’s a step-by-step display a designation procedure:
Finn, a “roadie” who says his work as a prolongation manager in a celebration attention has done him utterly informed with electrical systems, believes his modifications couldn’t presumably have influenced a airbag system, job GM’s purported idea that they did “lies” and “bullshit.”
“The airbags went off given there’s a sensor that dynamic it was in a rollover, that it shouldn’t do in an off-road branded and marketed truck,” he pronounced over a phone, clearly dissapoint about a whole situation.
As for a repairs that GM allegedly cited as a second reason for denying coverage, Finn told me this was usually scrapes on a behind fender that resulted from pushing off a high hill, and also light repairs to a fender allegedly caused by a dealership (Finn says a play bound this). “They usually fundamentally were creation things up,” Finn told me.
The conditions has left Finn frustrated. Shortly after a incident, he filed a censure shown above with a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. What bothers him isn’t usually a income he had to compensate or a six-week downtime on a lorry he’d usually bought, it’s also safety.
“GM is fundamentally usually refusing to acknowledge a problem and intensity reserve problem it poses,” he told me, mentioning how badly it could have left had he had his conduct poking out of a window to mark himself on a trail. “[Airbags are] positively usually like an blast going off subsequent to your head,” he pronounced about his initial knowledge with such a pacifist restraint
He also mentioned that, to forestall airbags deploying off-road, Colorado owners have been pulling compound No. 18, or installing switches to spin off a airbag system—moves that could outcome in preventable injuries if a automobile does hurl or crash.
He feels that a off-road mode should boost a threshold for airbag deployment, or that GM should occupy a setup identical to Toyota’s RSCA switch, that allows for a disabling a side airbag’s hurl intuiting duty during off-road driving:
Finn did tell me that he’s subsequently taken a lorry on a successful 10,000 mile off-road journey this summer, and had no issues. But then, he told me he pulled a fuse, a pierce that he finds annoying. And so does a unknown lady mentioned earlier, who told me: “I didn’t compensate $50,000 to lift a compound out of a truck.”
More Reported Incidents
Just a discerning Google hunt brings adult other Chevy Colorado off-road airbag deployment stories. A user going by a name Airmon on a messaging house Coloradofans.com says he was pushing his ZR2 diesel on some dunes, when a bags popped off, writing:
Headed adult a non-descript, little dune, we gave a lorry usually adequate energy to get to a tip and as we got there it sounded like a gunshot went off and someone punched me in a side of a head.
From there, things went likewise to others who explain to have gifted a same issue. OnStar called, he eventually got a lorry to glow behind adult (though a seatbelts were out of strike given of a seatbelt pre-tensioners), he cut a airbags out, and after brought it to a dealership, where a third celebration eventually conducted their research on what happened.
Airmon describes GM’s purported finish below, that is that they’ll correct it usually this once as a courtesy:
GM will correct a truck, this one time. It’s their opinion that a lorry operated as designed and if we use a lorry off highway or in a demeanour that causes a airbags to muster a second time, it’s possibly going to be my responsibility or we can disagree about it as a guaranty correct with my dealer. Consequently, GM will not be creation any modifications or repairs to a patience complement to forestall another occurrence.
The GM repute suggested that we not use a lorry off highway or on rough mud roads. we brought adult a fact that this is a ZR2, arguably GM’s many off-road estimable vehicle, and a repute suggested again that we not use a lorry in situations that a lorry competence appreciate as a rollover.
And indeed, Airmon got his lorry back, yet he says it took about a month. This all happened on Jan. 27th of this year, so that’s roughly positively Airmon’s NHTSA censure during a tip of this section.
Another story comes from a lady named Mike Saad, who commented on a GM-Trucks.com story about Joe’s incident. Saad’s post shows a dim Colorado with a side airbags deployed after apparently pushing on a glow road. He writes:
well we’ll, we usually bought a Colorado zr2 from Conelle chevy. we usually have 2000 miles on my code new lorry and my roof airbag curtans have deployed on me. we was usually on a glow trail. O need for 4 circle expostulate we was In 2 wheel. My roof Air Bags went off. So we trust this isn’t as singular as GM wants people to think. My automobile is during a play right now we trust there will try to give me some bullsh*** that my hurl bar and light bar is a reason and try to reject regulating it yet we shall see. Because my bags went off in a day time so all my light switches were off. There’s no approach a open circuit can outcome a airbag module. That would be like observant jumping your battery would make them deploy. Come on this isn’t usually fluke guys. They have a critical problem GM needs to possess it and take caring of it before a category movement lawsuit is set in motion.
Between a videos and a stories common online, I’ve found a sum of 7 accounts of Chevrolet Colorado side screen airbags deploying in assuage off-road conditions. Plus, in a time it took me to form this story, another apparent owners wrote a censure on a GM-Trucks messaging board about side airbags allegedly deploying during a U-turn.
What To Take Away From This
GM has been heavily promotion this truck’s off-road capabilities, so it’s easy to know since so many of a folks who have had to understanding with airbags deploying off-road feel like they’ve been duped. If a lorry is a genuine off-roader, it should be means to hoop mud trails yet thereafter carrying to conduct to a dealership for correct afterwards. And it shouldn’t need owners to mislay a fuse.
Of course, it’s value mentioning that many Colorados have been by hard core off-roading yet floating their side screen airbags, and that a incidents mentioned here expected usually paint a little fragment of trucks on a road.
It’s also value observant that a Chevrolet Colorado isn’t a usually automobile that has had such an issue. Nissan lorry owners have been complaining about airbags deploying off-road for years (here’s a video display it occur on an Xterra).
In a end, Nissan started a use campaign for 2004 to 2014 Titans, 2005 to 2014 Frontiers and 2005 to 2014 Xterras to have their Airbag Contol Units recalibrated giveaway of charge, and refunds given to people who had to reinstate their airbags given of unintended deployment. The association describes a emanate and a correct on a use website:
The stream ACU rollover-sensing calibration proof could concede for unintended rollover screen atmosphere bag deployment in singular instances occurring underneath certain singular pushing scenarios, usually involving unpaved roads or off-road where one side of a automobile is aloft than a other. The ACU reprogramming will urge rollover-sensing calibration to residence these singular conditions and assistance forestall unintended rollover screen atmosphere bag deployment, while progressing a pattern vigilant for deployment in rollover crashes.
Whether Chevrolet will do something identical stays to be seen.