2023 Rivian R1S Airbag Failure

Class Action Investigation

Updated on Author: Sergei Lemberg

Updated on Author: Sergei Lemberg

Lemberg Law is currently examining numerous reports of front seat passenger airbags being disabled in the 2023 Rivian R1S. Owners allege that this renders them useless, creating a major safety hazard. But many dealers maintain there is nothing wrong.   

Don’t be stuck with a lemon. You have legal rights to cash, return or buyback.

The law makes Rivian pay legal fees.

We've fixed thousands of lemon problems. Message or call 844-928-4443 today.

Airbag Failing Issue Explained

There are multiple complaints filed with the  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about faulty airbags in the 2023 Rivian R1S. They all talk about the airbags — and sometimes other related safety systems — failing to detect the front seat passenger. Generally, a message appears that states the passenger airbag is off. There are also complaints that the automaker has not complied with acceptable standards regarding the airbag sensors.

Some complaints maintain that dealerships claim there is nothing wrong with the airbag system.

Recall

In March 2023, Rivian issued a recall for a total of 30 2022-2023 vehicles “with suspect side curtain airbag fastenings.” The recall revealed that one or more of the fasteners that secure the right or left side curtain airbag to the vehicle might not be properly secured to the vehicle.

However, this defect appears to be a totally separate issue, as some Rivian owners have discovered. For example, the very first complaint about problematic airbags, in July 2023, states that when technicians tested the vehicle and identified the problem. “They checked to see if this was related to the Feb 2023 recall and said it is not.” This same customer was told that “diagnostics found nothing wrong” with the vehicle.

What are Owners Reporting?

All the NHTSA complaints that relate to 2023 Rivian R1S airbag problems are essentially the same. However, there are a few specific details that some owners add to their complaints. Here are some examples.

Physical Dimensions of Passengers

Most of the complaints lodged with the NHTSA specify the weight and sometimes the height of passengers whose occupancy isn’t detected when they sit in a 2023 Rivian R1S. The overall consensus of opinion is that anyone with a lighter weight won’t trigger the passenger seat’s weight sensor. But some say it is the same when heavy people sit in the front seat.

An owner whose vehicle fails to detect a front seat passenger more than 90% of the time states that their weight ranges from 150-425 lbs. Others mention:

  • A 110 lb, 5 ft 4 in tall wife
  • A wife who is about 100 lbs and 5 ft 5 in tall
  • Sons that are 6 ft 1 in and 145 lbs, and 5 ft 9 in and 155 lbs.

Oddly, an owner who weighs about 170 lbs states that the airbag sensor switched off when he was a passenger. But it always stays on when his girlfriend is in the passenger seat. She weighs only about 100 lb. Another owner states that when his female passenger weighing about 135 lbs travels with him, the “passenger airbag off” alert switches on and off.

Does the Seating Position Make a Difference?

A common explanation is that passengers aren’t sitting correctly. For example, a diagnostics team that was unable to “duplicate customer concern, found the occupancy sensor works as expected.” But the report goes on to say: “The occupancy sensor is very sensitive and dependent upon the weight being distributed equally throughout the seat, if the occupant sits too far forward in the seat the sensor will not detect the weight”.

Another complaint notes that, “The passenger must sit up perfectly straight and center their weight on the center of the seat for them to be properly detected. A service center visit claimed the seats are working as designed, but there is clearly an issue.”

And another: “Searching online indicates this is a common issue and repair requests are routinely denied with claims that it is operating correctly. Others have been told it is due to posture or seating position. I’ve never had a vehicle whose safety features were disabled due to poor posture?!”

But there might just be something in the posture/seating position claim, strange though it may be. At least one owner believes that the issue has everything to do with “the movement of the passenger. For example, my girlfriend was sitting in the seat, with her legs crossed. When she is in this position, the system disables. If she shifts her weight around, the system re-enables. This is repeatable, with numerous members of my family.”

Then there is a query. “Is Rivian accounting for the fact that the weight occupancy sensor accounts for the weight of the legs placed on the floor?” Whether it does or not, there are major issues that relate to the passenger seat occupancy sensor. And another thought is, why would this be a factor for passengers and not the driver?

What Should You Do if Your Rivian Has Airbag Issues?

If you have purchased a 2023 Rivian R1S that doesn’t detect a front seat passenger’s occupancy, you might have a lemon on your hands. If so, you may qualify to join our class action investigation. When you fill out a contact form or call our Helpline we undertake to evaluate your case to see if you qualify. It won’t cost you anything because the law says Rivian must pay the legal bills for lemon law cases.

Sergei Lemberg

About the Author:

Sergei Lemberg is a lawyer whose practice focuses on consumer law, class actions and personal injury litigation. He has been repeatedly recognized as the “most active consumer attorney” in the country. In 2020, Mr. Lemberg represented Noah Duguid in the United States Supreme Court in the case entitled Duguid v. Facebook. He is the author of Defanging Debt Collectors, a book that teaches consumers how to battle debt collectors and win.

See more posts from Sergei Lemberg
BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT

Leave a Reply or Comment

Write a comment below to share online. Or, instead you can to our legal team.

Please select your star rating.

Briefly describe your experience Briefly describe your experience

What’s your name? What’s your name?

What’s your phone number? Please enter a valid phone number

Want to know if you could sue? Get a free legal evaluation Lemberg Law?

Get Your No-Obligation
Case Evaluation

Send a secure message to our legal team.

What’s your name? What’s your name?
What’s your email address? What’s your email address?
What’s your phone number? What’s your phone number?
Briefly describe the problem Briefly describe the problem
Confidentiality Guarantee: We keep your information completely confidential and will not send you spam or sell your information.
By submitting above, I agree to the privacy policy and terms and consent to be contacted by an agent via phone call or text message at the phone number(s) listed above, including wireless number(s).