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New Takata airbags probe into 30m cars

Vehicles built in the US by more than 20 marques will come under scrutiny over concerns about airbag inflators.
Posted on 21 September, 2021
New Takata airbags probe into 30m cars

Safety investigators have launched a new probe into 30 million vehicles built in the US that may have potentially defective Takata airbag inflators.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened an engineering analysis into the vehicles manufactured between 2001 and 2019.

Marques such as Honda, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, General Motors, Subaru, Tesla, Mazda, and BMW are among more than 20 carmakers affected by the new investigation.

The vehicles under scrutiny are outside of the existing recall that over the past decade has affected 67m vehicles in the US, and more than 100m worldwide.

Inflators installed when the cars were manufactured as well as some that were used in prior recall repairs are part of the latest inquiry, says the NHTSA.

The new study covers Takata-built front driver and passenger-side airbag inflators that contain a desiccant designed to stop moisture from damaging the units, reports Reuters.

Units that were recalled did not contain the desiccant – a chemical drying agent – and that risked moisture damaging propellant used to inflate airbags during a crash. 

In some cases, the damaged inflators have exploded in crashes and caused 28 deaths worldwide, including 19 in the US.

According to an NHTSA document, none of the 30m vehicles now being recalled has had any reported problems with air bag inflators containing the drying agent.

“While no present safety risk has been identified, further work is needed to evaluate the future risk of non-recalled desiccated inflators,” it adds. 

The NHTSA says of the 67m previously recalled inflators, about 50m have been repaired or are otherwise accounted for.