Toyota and Other Carmakers Expand Recall of Vehicles With Exploding Airbag Hazard
About 33 million airbags declared defective in the biggest auto recall in history
WEDNESDAY, May 13, 2015 (UPDATED May 19)
It sounds like something from a bad Bond film: Airbags that explode and create flying shrapnel that kills drivers and passengers. Unfortunately, it’s not.
Millions of vehicles with potentially faulty airbags made by the Japanese manufacturer Takata have been recalled globally in recent years by 10 different auto manufacturers, and on May 13 Toyota and Nissan recalled an additional 6.5 million vehicles due to the explosion hazard.
Now the Associated Press has reported that Takata has agreed to declare 33.8 million of its inflating airbags defective, nearly doubling the number of vehicles recalled in the U.S. The deal was brokered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and is the largest vehicle recall in the agency's history.
At least six deaths and 100 injuries have been linked to the exploding airbags worldwide. In two cases, investigators have reported that the victims looked like they had been shot or stabbed, according to CNN.
Investigators at a 2014 incident in Orlando first thought a female victim, Hien Thi Tran, had been attacked with a knife. They began a murder investigation, but an autopsy revealed the plastic and metal fragments from the airbag canister had caused her death.
In the Toyota recall announced on May 13, the company recalled vehicles manufactured between March 2003 and November 2007, which include 35 separate models. Nissan recalled vehicles made between 2004 and 2007.
Toyota expanded its original recall after investigators discovered moisture problems in the airbags. These could make the airbags “susceptible to abnormal deployment in a crash,” Toyota officials told reporters. The automaker warns that until repairs are made, Toyota owners should not carry any front seat passengers.
On May 13 Honda also announced that it would expand its recall of vehicles equipped with the malfunctioning airbags.
A Takata official said the company would “fully cooperate” with the latest recall, according to CNN. The latest recall, coordinated by NHTSA, involves vehicles manufactured by BMW, Chrysler, Daimler Trucks, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota.
Owners of the affected cars should immediately contact their dealers to have the defective airbags replaced. You can find out more about the recall from NHTSA here.
In addition, you can click here to see if your VIN number indicates your vehicle is among those being recalled. Automakers are still scrambling to assemble information for the latest recall, so check the VIN site weekly to see whether your vehicle has been added to the list.