Rivian R1S Recalled for Side Curtain Airbag Issue

The recall's scope is small — just 30 units — but it does present a safety issue

A new Rivian recall identifies a few dozen R1S models that may have improperly fastened side curtain airbags.

The electric automaker’s SUVs are starting to make it out to customers in greater numbers, but that doesn’t mean its launch has entirely been smooth sailing. Rivian is still trying to ramp up amid supply chain constraints that are still affecting the whole car industry. Apart from that, it’s also trying to find other buyers for its EDV van after Amazon committed to just 10,000 units (instead of 100,000) and it recently lost its chief engineer to McLaren, after Rivian originally poached him from the supercar maker in 2018.

Now, the automaker faces a small, albeit critical issue with its R1S SUV. Specifically, the side curtain airbags on 30 units may not be properly attached to the body. The Normal, Illinois plant built the affected vehicles between October 28, 2022 and January 21, 2023.

According to a defect report published by the NHTSA, Rivian says it “identified a vehicle at the Normal vehicle assembly plant in which some of the side curtain airbag fasteners did not properly secure the airbag to the roof rail” on February 16, 2023. From there, it concluded its investigation on March 1 and decided a recall was necessary to correct the problem.

The issue, as Rivian points out, could make the side airbags less effective in a crash. However, the company says it is not aware of any injuries related to the side curtain airbag recall. What’s more, it started using different fastening hardware for R1S SUVs built after January 21.

To fix the problem, Rivian will replace the fasteners on the affected units, free of charge. It will notify owners and service centers on April 28, though if you own an R1S, you can find out whether your car is part of the recall population using the NHTSA’s online tool.

Granted, this issue only affects a small number of people. However, as it works to ramp up production, hopefully the company will not run into further problems. Last year, Rivian recalled more than 12,000 vehicles for improperly toruqed steering knuckle fasteners.