The largest automotive recall ever appears to be at an end, but first, millions of replacement inflators are themselves being recalled as possibly dangerous.
The saga of Takata airbag recalls has gone on for years, beginning in the first half of the last decade, but it is finally, apparently, coming to an end.
Now, in what could be the last of the recalls, 10 million additional vehicles with inflators in front airbags manufactured by the now-bankrupt Takata have been recalled for their likelihood of exploding and spraying vehicle passengers with metal shards.
The NHTSA report, dated January 2, states that the estimated percentage of actually defective inflators is estimated at 1 per cent.
Automakers with vehicles that could be involved are Audi, BMW, Honda, Daimler (vans), Fiat Chrysler, Ferrari, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, and Volkswagen. To find out if you have a vehicle that is under recall, go to the NHTSA recall website. The vehicles include, for instance, many 1999–2001 BMW 3-series cars, Audi and Volkswagen Passat models from 2015–2017, and 2010–2014 Subaru Forester, Legacy, and Outback models.
This massive inflator recall is part of a schedule of recalls made in a 2015 agreement between Takata and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA noted that many of the inflators were never installed on vehicles. Automakers will be determining which models are specifically equipped with the recalled equipment and issue their own recall notifications.
The inflators in this recall, ironically, were used to replace the original ones that were found to be defective. They were recognized as safer since they were newer and had not been exposed to heat and humidity, which degraded the old inflators and increased their possibility of degradation and explosion. The recalls were scheduled based on the age of the vehicles and their locations, with vehicles registered farther south, exposed to heat and humidity, being recalled sooner.