Takata airbag recall doubled; parts shortage persists

Takata airbag recall doubled; parts shortage persists

NHTSA has expanded the number of cars with defective airbags that must be recalled by 35 to 40 million, as NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind urged consumers to stay in touch with their dealer. Replacement of the 28.8 million airbag inflators previously recalled has been slowed because of a parts shortage in different parts of the country, including the Washington area. (Some of those owners may ask for loaners.) NHTSA said in April that eventually, more than 85 million airbags may have to be recalled.

The expansion brings the total of recalled vehicles to 63 million in the United States, close to nearly 25 percent of the cars on the road. Vehicles with the greatest potential danger are those more than six years old in humid, warm climates, where temperatures fluctuate from warm to hot. That description means our region is not at highest risk. Most of the deaths from the airbags 13 worldwide occurred in vehicles more than seven years old. Rosekind said that most of the recalls in the new batch are for passenger-side airbags, which present less of a danger because of the way they deploy.

A full list of vehicles in the most recent group of recalls may not be available for a few weeks. Automakers need to check which vehicles had the faulty airbag inflators. The recall will take place in five phases through December 2019, depending on the age of the inflators and weather-related risk factors.

Because Takata plans to phase out the use of ammonium nitrate — the chemical that created the danger in the airbags — by 2018, some consumers will have to replace their airbags twice, according to the Washington Post. Once will be for the currently defective airbags, and the second time will be for the new airbags without the problematic chemical.

Download Bulletin PDF