8 automakers recall over 12 million vehicles for Takata air bags

  • AP, Detroit
  • Updated: May 27, 2016 18:47 IST
A technician holds a recalled Takata airbag inflator in Miami, Florida. (Reuters)

Eight automakers are recalling more than 12 million vehicles in the US to replace Takata air bag inflators that can explode with too much force.

Documents detailing recalls by Honda, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Ferrari and Mitsubishi were posted Friday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

They’re part of a massive expansion of Takata air bag recalls announced earlier this month. Seventeen automakers are adding 35 million-to-40 million inflators to what already was the largest auto recall in US history.

In addition, the Japanese transport ministry on Friday announced 7 million additional recalls related to the Takata inflators. Those recalls cover all front air bags that do not have a chemical drying agent.

Friday’s recalls include passenger air bags mainly in older models in areas along the Gulf Coast with high heat and humidity.

Takata uses the chemical ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion that inflates the air bags in a crash. But the chemical can deteriorate over time when exposed to high heat and humidity and burn faster than designed. That can blow apart a metal canister designed to contain the explosion, spewing hot shrapnel into vehicles.

The inflators are responsible for 11 deaths and more than 100 injuries worldwide. Two additional deaths are under investigation in Malaysia and may have been caused by the inflators.

The recalls are among the first to be unveiled by automakers since Takata agreed to the recall expansion, and more recalls will be announced in the coming week. The recalls are being phased in by the government due to a lack of available replacement parts. Models that are from 2011 or older in high heat and humidity areas will get first priority, followed by 2008 and older models in Southern-tier states, then 2004 and older models in the rest of the country.

Honda had the biggest recall total on Friday with more than 4.5 million inflators, while Fiat Chrysler reported 4.3 million. The Honda total even includes about 2,700 Gold Wing motorcycles with optional front air bags.

Honda says the latest recall covers only about 2.2 million additional Honda and Acura vehicles. The other 2.3 million vehicles were recalled previously for other Takata air bag problems. Honda expects the recalls to start in late summer for automobiles and in late fall for the motorcycles.

Fiat Chrysler said it’s not aware of any crashes or injuries involving its vehicles that are part of the recall.

The latest recalls cover mainly front passenger air bag inflators without the chemical drying agent. The jury is still out on whether Takata will have to recall millions more inflators with the drying agent. Takata has to prove to the government that those are safe by the end of 2019, or more recalls will start.

Since the recalled models vary by state and age, officials say that the best way to see if your car is affected is to go to https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/ or manufacturer websites and key in the vehicle identification number. That number can be found on the driver’s side of the dashboard near the windshield or on your state vehicle registration. It may take several weeks for all of the newly recalled vehicles to be entered into the databases.

Here are the models covered by the recalls announced on Friday:

HONDA: Certain 2003-2006 Acura MDX, 2005-2011 Acura RL, 2009-2011 Acura TSX, 2010-2011 Acura ZDX, 2008-2011 Honda Accord, 2010-2011 Honda Accord Crosstour, 2006-2011 Honda Civic, 2005-2011 Honda CR-V, 2003-2011 Honda Element, 2010-2011 Honda FCX Clarity, 2007-2011 Honda Fit, 2010-2011 Honda Insight, 2002-2004 Honda Odyssey, 2003-2011 Honda Pilot, 2006-2011 Honda Ridgeline, certain 2006-2010 Honda Gold Wing motorcycles.

FIAT CHRYSLER: Certain 2007-2009 Chrysler Aspen SUVs, 2005-2012 Chrysler 300, 2008-2012 Dodge Challenger, 2006-2012 Dodge Charger, 2005-2011 Dodge Dakota pickups, 2004-2009 Dodge Durango SUVs, 2005-2008 Dodge Magnum wagons, 2004-2008 Ram 1500 pickups, 2005-2009 Ram 2500 pickups, 2006-2009 Ram 3500 pickups, 2007-2010 Ram/Ram 3500 cab chassis, 2008-2010 Ram/Ram 4500/5500 cab chassis, 2007-2012 Jeep Wrangler SUVs, 2006-2009 Mitsubishi Raider pickups, 2008-2009 Sterling/Bullet 4500/5500 cab chassis.

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