The number of vehicles subject to the Takata Airbag recall has grown to 53 million. That is an unprecedented number and is the largest automotive recall in U.S. history. These airbags are defective, due to a faulty propellant device and inflator. The inflators can deflate and shoot metal fragments into the passenger compartment, seriously injuring those inside. The recall is designed to prevent this from happening.
In April 2013, Takata issued a recall of its airbags, and then Toyota and other major automakers followed suit. When contacted by NHTSA, the company admitted that it had no idea which vehicles had Takata airbags, nor did it know the cause of the problems. The company also forced regional recalls in high-humidity regions, and NHTSA has ordered the removal of affected parts.
The defect is linked to an ammonium nitrate-based propellant used by Takata. This propellant is incompatible with the chemical drying agent used to keep the airbag from over-inflating. The airbags can explode in hot, humid environments, sending metal shrapnel into the vehicle cabin. The NHTSA has recalled over 50 million Takata airbags, citing numerous injuries and fatalities. The recall has caused the automakers to replace many of the airbags in their vehicles, as well as their components.
Despite these problems, Toyota and other manufacturers have committed to zero-hassle replacement of the defective Takata airbags. As of October 2018, all automakers have recalled Takata airbags, and the company is making an effort to make the process as simple as possible. If you own a Takata airbag, contact the company to learn about their zero-hassle replacement. They’ll cover the cost of the replacement, and will send you a new one, if necessary.
In the past year, more than a dozen major automakers have announced that they will stop using Takata airbag inflators in their vehicles. While Honda has long been one of their biggest customers, it has recently made a decision to stop buying Takata airbag inflators. Mazda and Toyota are also considering replacing their inflators with other brands. These two companies combined account for 40% of Takata airbags on the market.
The NHTSA has opened a second investigation into the Takata airbags, this time focusing on Honda and Acura vehicles. These vehicles are at an increased risk of rupturing during the deployment of the airbag, and there are currently nine deaths attributed to these defective airbags. Furthermore, Acura and Honda have announced that they are launching a voluntary advertising campaign to alert owners of open airbag recalls.
The government is trying to halt the spread of these airbags. As a result, the company has increased the recall to include more vehicles. As of October 2018, it is estimated that nearly 34 million cars have been affected by the Takata airbags. Moreover, it is estimated that these airbags have been in the market for nearly ten years and are prone to rupture. As a result, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Japanese officials are calling for a broader recall.