NHTSA to Investigate 30 Million More Cars Equipped With Takata Airbags
Takata airbag inflators in certain 2001-2019 model year vehicles could be defective
Another spate of potentially defective Takata airbag inflators faces scrutiny by federal regulators as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration kicks off an engineering investigation into 30 million vehicles built by more than 20 car manufacturers between 2001 and 2019, among them Ford, General Motors, Honda, Stellantis (the parent company of Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Ram, and others), and Toyota. The investigation covers vehicles outside the existing recall that already has affected 67 million vehicles.
The new NHTSA investigation covers millions of Takata-built driver-side and front passenger-side airbag inflators that contain a desiccant designed to keep moisture from damaging the units. Units that were recalled did not contain the desiccant—a chemical drying agent—and that sometimes caused moisture to damage propellant used to inflate airbags during a crash. In some cases, the damaged inflators exploded in crashes, causing 19 deaths and more than 400 injuries in the U.S. alone.
William Wallace, CR’s manager of safety policy, says that opening an investigation into vehicles with Takata airbags that contain a desiccant is the right move. “The best information available today indicates that these vehicles are lower-risk than those already recalled, but they aren’t zero-risk. It’s entirely appropriate for NHTSA to do its own independent analysis.”
“These recalls are incredibly long-running and complex, and they can be hard to follow—especially because the risk can increase over time as the airbags age, and sometimes people have to take their vehicle to the dealer multiple times for recall repairs. This underscores just how critical it is to check regularly for open recalls on your vehicle,” Wallace says.