The Mitsubishi Montero, a recalled vehicle.

Approximately 20,000 Mitsubishi Montero SUVs from the 1998 through 2000 model years have been recalled for dangerous Takata airbags that can cause serious or fatal injuries to vehicle occupants.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these airbags may have improperly sealed inflators. As a result, they may allow too much moisture in, which could cause the airbags to deploy without enough force to protect occupants in a crash, or the airbags could rupture and spray sharp metal fragments directly at people sitting in front of them. Both situations could cause serious injuries or death.

The Takata airbags in this and a few other recent recalls are of a different design from those included in a larger recall of Takata airbags made between 2002 and 2015. The airbags in this Mitsubishi model have what are called non-azide driver frontal airbag inflators (NADI). They were produced between May 1, 1995, and Aug. 31, 1999, and were also used in vehicles from Acura, Audi, BMWHonda, Isuzu, and Toyota.

BMW has already issued a recall for certain older vehicles, including some that should not be driven. Acura, Honda, Isuzu, and Toyota have also issued recalls. Safety investigators are aware of at least one injury and two fatalities outside the U.S. related to these specific airbags.

NHTSA has called the earlier and still ongoing recall of airbags made by the major automotive parts supplier Takata “the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history.” Over 41.6 million vehicles have been recalled because of those faulty airbags, which have been associated with 16 deaths in the U.S. and at least 24 deaths and 300 injuries worldwide.

Vehicles recalled: Certain Mitsubishi Montero SUVs manufactured between June 12, 1997, and Dec. 31, 1999.

The problem: These vehicles have faulty airbag inflators that might not work properly because of excessive moisture. In a crash, the airbags might not deploy correctly, or they could launch metal fragments at occupants. Both conditions could cause serious injury.

The fix: A replacement inflator is not yet available. When it is, Mitsubishi dealers will replace the faulty airbag inflators free of charge.

How to contact the manufacturer: Mitsubishi says the recall is expected to begin March 22, 2020. Owners may contact Mitsubishi customer service at 888-648-7820. Mitsubishi’s own number for this recall is SR-20-001.

NHTSA campaign number: 20V035

Check to see whether your vehicle has an open recall: NHTSA’s website will tell you whether your vehicle has any open recalls that need to be addressed.

If you plug your car’s 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN) into NHTSA’s website and a recall doesn’t appear, it means your vehicle doesn’t currently have any open recalls. Because automakers issue recalls often, and for many older vehicles, we recommend checking back regularly to see whether your vehicle has had a recall issued.

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