Takata air bag recall expands once again

It looks like the problems with Takata air bags are far from over. The largest auto recall in U.S. history has gotten even larger.

Twelve million more vehicles have been recalled by eight automakers due to faulty and potentially dangerous inflators. That recall, which was announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on May 27, is in addition to recalls announced earlier last month.

So far, the faulty inflators have been linked to 11 fatalities and over 100 injuries around the world. Two additional fatalities in Malaysia are still being investigated.

The problem stems from a chemical that Takata uses in its airbags that causes them to inflate in a crash. That chemical, ammonium nitrate, can deteriorate, particularly amid exposure to heat and humidity. That can cause the metal canister inside the air bag, which is supposed to contain the inflation in a crash, to blow apart and send shrapnel flying into the occupants of the vehicle. The latest recalls cover primarily front passenger air bags.

That deterioration can take up to six years. Therefore, older vehicles are being made a priority in the recall. So are vehicles in areas such as the south where heat and humidity can be particularly high. There are still limited replacement parts for the faulty inflators, so the following vehicles are being given priority:

1, 2011 and older in areas with high heat and humidity2. 2008 and older models in southern states3. 2004 and older models located in the rest of the U.S.

The automakers that have vehicles included in this latest recall are Ferrari, Fiat Chrysler, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota. Honda has the most impacted vehicles at 4.5 million. Fiat Chrysler is close behind, with 4.3 million. If you're not certain whether your vehicle is included in this or any other recall, you can check using your vehicle identification number at NHTSA's website.

Anyone who is involved in an accident and/or injured due to what they believe may be a defect in the vehicle should seek legal guidance to determine their options. When consumers hold automakers accountable, they can help save others from injury or worse.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Largest-ever U.S. auto recall gets bigger: 12 million more vehicles with Takata air bags ordered back," May 27, 2016

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