In what is expected to be the biggest product auto recall in U.S. history, auto parts manufacturer Takata has announced that defective airbags in 33.8 million vehicles could potentially be dangerous to consumers. According to the Detroit News, Takata's airbag inflators could break down and shoot "metal fragments" into the cabin of the vehicle. Thus far, the defect is responsible for at least six deaths and more than 100 injuries.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says, "These inflators were made with a propellant that can degrade over time and has led to ruptures." The announcement almost doubles the 17 million Takata airbags that car manufacturers have already recalled since 2013. After pressure from the NHTSA , Takata is finally owning up to the issue. This also makes it the biggest product recall in U.S. history since 31 million bottles of Tylenol were called back when the company feared the products could be poisonous.
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These airbag inflators could be in a variety of vehicles, including BMW, Chrysler, Daimler trucks, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota. As of right now, the cause of the defect is still uncertain.
"NHTSA’s analysis of test results and engineering reports from independent organizations points to moisture infiltrating the defective inflators over extended periods of time as a factor," the NHTSA said in a statement.
"Over time, that moisture causes changes in the structure of the chemical propellant that ignites when an air bag deploys. The degraded propellant ignites too quickly, producing excess pressure that causes the inflator to rupture and sends metal shards into the passenger cabin that can lead to serious injury or death."
In order to organize a massive effort to replace each and every dangerous airbag, the Department of Transportation has created a microsite for tracking updates on the issue (find it HERE
). As of right now, specific VINs cannot be checked, but that's coming. A full list of makes and models of the cars affected will also be available once automakers provide the needed information. We will give updates as they come.
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