After increased pressure from U.S. regulation groups, Takata, the Japanese vehicle parts producer, is expanding their airbag recall yesterday. This recall, which will include 33.8 million vehicles, is now the largest automobile recall in history. Estimates have been made that one in seven vehicles on the road today have one of the recalled airbag components and will need replacement.
(This image notes the problem areas on a recalled airbag and was taken by our Office Administrator after his vehicle was listed in the original recall. Note the rusted areas at both ends.)
Originally the recall was regionally based, only affecting those vehicles in areas of high humidity. After yesterday, any vehicle with one of the affected parts is part of the expanded recall.
The issue with these airbags is that they have the potential to allow moisture into the compartment which houses the propellant for the airbag’s inflation. This allows the component to explode rather than inflate. This, in turn, causes metal fragments to project through the air and into the occupants of the vehicle. Already five deaths in the United States, and one in Malaysia, have been attributed to the faulty airbags. There are at least 10 others who have been injured by the exploding airbags.
We have written before about this recall, and Florida Representative Bill Nelson’s lead in expanding its scope. It is good to know that Takata is now taking responsibility for its products and the faults in their production.
Unfortunately, those who have already had their airbag replaced may also be included in the recall. According to one source, there is the possibility that the replacement airbag may itself need replacement.
To find out if your vehicle is part of the recall, locate your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) under your driver’s side windshield. Enter the VIN in the “Search for recall by VIN” area at safecar.gov. If your vehicle is part of the recall you should then be able to schedule a replacement at any local dealer’s service department.