United States auto safety investigators are probing potential airbag safety issues for over 30 million cars. These include 2001- to 2019 models coming from over 20 car manufacturers.
US NHTSA Investigating Airbag Safety Issues for 30 Million Vehicles
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) started an engineering analysis covering 30 million US vehicles made between 2001 to 2019.
In this case, investigators are looking at potentially defective Takata airbag inflators. In contrast, the US-registered 287 million cars in 2020.
These cars came from about two dozen automobile manufacturers. These include American automakers Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, and Tesla. Also included are Japanese brands such as Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, and Subaru.
Other manufacturers include Ferrari, Daimler, BMW, Porsche, Jaguar Land Rover, and others. The agency reportedly already alerted the automakers.
However, NHTSA has yet to make any announcement public. For now, the NHTSA has yet to comment on how many vehicles per manufacturer are on the hook.
Defect on Airbag Inflators
The 30 million vehicles involved in the airbag safety problem either have possibly defective inflators installed during assembly. It also covers inflators installed during routine replacement or repair.
However, this is not Takata's first time encountering problems with their inflators. Over the last ten years, Takata accounted for more than 67 million airbag inflators recalled in the US. Worldwide, the total runs to over 100 million.
When improperly deployed, airbags can send deadly metal fragments flying in all directions. Presently, Takata’s faulty inflators caused at least 28 deaths worldwide, including 19 in the US. In addition, these inflators also caused more than 400 injuries
New Airbag Safety Investigation over Desiccant
The new NHTSA investigation focuses on 30 million vehicles that have inflators with a desiccant. This is a drying agent that helps remove excess moisture in an enclosed area.
According to the report, the NHTSA said they have yet to receive any documented vehicle ruptures with desiccated air bag inflators. “While no present safety risk has been identified, further work is needed to evaluate the future risk of non-recalled desiccated inflators,” NHTSA said in opening its engineering analysis.
“Further study is needed to assess the long-term safety of desiccated inflators,” it added. Recall notices will only be made after the completion of the agency’s investigation.
For the earlier 67 million defective airbags, the NHTSA said that the propellant is the cause of the inflator explosions. The propellant broke down after long-term high temperature and humidity exposure.
As a result, the agency recalled all Takata airbags without a drying agent. For the previous airbag safety issue, the NHTSA reported 16 deaths aboard Honda vehicles, two victims using Ford cars, and one death aboard a BMW.
Abroad, investigators attributed another 9 deaths to the faulty airbag inflators. These happened in Malaysia, Brazil, and Mexico. By 2021, the NHTSA said that around 50 million out of the 67 million recalled inflators have undergone repair or otherwise accounted for.
NHTSA To Learn More About Takata's Process
In addition, the NHTSA said that the investigation will require extensive learning about Takata’s production processes. Also, the investigation will require surveys of inflators in the field.
As of Sunday, the automakers involved in the investigation declined to comment. NHTSA likewise has yet to say something publicly.
Watch the KSAT 12 video reporting that nearly 1 million defective Takata airbags are still on Texas roads:
What do you think of the new NHTSA investigation into potential airbag safety issues in 30 million cars? Do you think it’s worth having your car checked over the potential issue?
Let us know what you think about Takata and their continued bouts of airbag safety issues. Share your comments below.
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