Automakers Recall Millions of Cars for Defective Air Bags

Takata Airbags Lead Toyota, Nissan To Recall 3 Million Cars
Koichi Kamoshida/Bloomberg via Getty Images

DETROIT -- Faulty air bags -- which have already led to the recall of millions of cars worldwide -- are blamed for a new round of recalls in the U.S.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the government's auto safety agency, said Monday that BMW, Chrysler, Ford (F), Honda (HMC), Mazda, Nissan and Toyota (TM) will recall cars sold in places where hot, humid weather can potentially affect the air bags.

The older-model cars have air bag inflators that can rupture. If that happens, the air bags might not work properly in a crash, and shards from the broken system could fly out and cause injury.

The automakers all have air bag systems made by Takata Corp., a Tokyo-based supplier of seat belts, air bags, steering wheels and other auto parts.

NHTSA opened an investigation this month after getting six reports of air bags rupturing in Florida and Puerto Rico. Three people were injured in those cases. It had estimated 1.1 million vehicles automakers in the U.S. could be affected, but the total is likely to climb.

Honda, for example, said it will include 10 states and territories in its recall, including Texas, Georgia and South Carolina. Honda says Takata recommended recalling cars in four places: Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The government says it wanted to act quickly in warm states while it continues to investigate the issue.

"Based on the limited data available at this time, NHTSA supports efforts by automakers to address the immediate risk in areas that have consistently hot, humid conditions over extended periods of time," the agency said in a statement.

Honda says too much pressure may be building up in the system, causing the air bags to deploy with too much force.

In one complaint last August, a Honda driver's lawyer told NHTSA that the car was in a crash, and both driver and passenger air bags inflated. The driver's air bag inflator ruptured "and propelled a one-inch piece of shrapnel into the driver's right eye." The driver lost sight and suffered cuts requiring 100 stitches to close, the complaint said.

Takata's air bags have been the subject of multiple recalls in recent months.

In April 2013, Toyota, Honda and Nissan recalled nearly 3.4 million older-model vehicles worldwide due to a problem with the propellant in the air bags that could lead to fires.

But Takata recently realized that recall didn't include all of the potentially faulty air bags. Earlier this month, Toyota recalled 2.27 million more cars globally. And on Monday in Japan, Honda, Mazda and Nissan together recalled nearly 3 million more.

NHTSA said automakers who use airbags made by Takata will repair the vehicles for free, and in most cases replace both the driver's side and passenger side air bag inflators. All of the automakers except Honda are limiting the recalls to Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, on the advice of Takata.

The following automakers and vehicles will be included in the recall, according to letters sent to NHTSA by the various automakers:

BMW: BMW 2001-2005 3 Series sedan, 2001-2006 3 Series coupe, 2001-2005 3 Series sports wagon and 2001-2006 3 Series convertible. BMW says it has not yet determined how many vehicles are affected. It will begin notifying owners in August.

Chrysler: Chrysler is still determining which vehicles are affected.

Ford: Ford expects to recall 58,669 vehicles, including the 2005-2007 Mustang, 2005-2007 GT and 2004 Ranger pickup truck. Ford said it is still working on a schedule to notify owners.

Honda: Honda will recall vehicles in Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as well as Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas. The company hasn't yet determined the number of vehicles, but believes it is more than 1 million. Honda will replace the driver's side air bag inflator in the 2001-2007 Accord (four-cylinder engine), 2001-2002 Accord (V6), 2001-2005 Civic, 2002-2006 CR-V, 2003-2011 Element, 2002-2004 Odyssey, 2002-2007 Pilot, 2006 Ridgeline, 2003-2006 Acura MDX and 2002-2003 Acura TL/CL. The company will replace passenger side air bag inflators in the 2003-2005 Accord, Civic, CR-V, Element, Odyssey, Pilot; the 2003-2005 Acura MDX and the 2005 Acura RL.

Mazda: Mazda expects to recall 34,600 vehicles, including the 2003-2007 Mazda6, 2004-2008 RX-8, 2006-2007 Mazdaspeed6 and 2004 MPV. Mazda is still working on a schedule to notify owners.

Nissan: Nissan said it is still determining which vehicles are affected.

Toyota: Toyota has twice recalled vehicles for problems with Takata air bags. The company says it will recall certain 2003-2005 Corolla, Matrix, Sequoia, Tundra, Lexus LC and Pontiac Vibe cars not covered in the previous recalls, to repair their passenger-side air bag inflators. It hasn't yet set a schedule for notifying owners.

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Auto manufacturers are constantly producing unnecessarily complicated, expensive vehicles with fragile electronic gadgets to inflate the cost of their vehicles. They have forgotten the most basic design (KISS) principle; "KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID!" No matter how many safety features manufacturers add to their vehicles, there are plenty of stupid drivers who will find some way to crash their vehicles and kill themselves and someone else.

June 24 2014 at 9:06 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to geopapas's comment

Excellent post.....the truth and nothing but the truth. All the unnecessarily complicated expensive items are beyond frustrating. They have done it with vehicles making their cost extremely over the top, and even today's washers as well that used to be simple without all the ridiculous unwanted bells and whistles that constantly break down making the darn things very poor purchases creating enormous stress.

June 25 2014 at 5:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Jeeze, is everything always someone else's fault? How about we grow up and take a little responsibility ourselves. We are turning into a nation of babies, and that's exactly what the government wants. I for one am sick and tired of being told to wear a seatbelt and paying extra for my car just because someone thinks they have to protect me. This safety crap has gone too far and needs to be rebelled against. I get a new lawn mower and can't even back it up without it shutting off, it's total BS.

June 24 2014 at 8:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Made in China?

June 24 2014 at 7:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Airbags not working? Hey here's an idea...don't hit the driver in front of you A**hole!

June 24 2014 at 12:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mark's comment

Just about the time one thinks they have seen the biggest moron ever along comes one that towers over all the rest. Yes Mark, talking about you.

June 24 2014 at 2:52 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

I'm safe in my 03 Monte Carlo SS which got a 5 star rating front end crash...however not being a moron and knowing how to drive saves me from

June 24 2014 at 12:09 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Mark's comment

It is sad to say when you stop and the car behind you does not... How does that make you the moron? Or when a car runs a red light or stop sign into you?

June 24 2014 at 3:27 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

It most definitely is not always about you and your safe driving abilities....not at all.

June 25 2014 at 5:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think I'm safe in my 1973 ford f250 high boy 4by4, I can't get run into, I would be run under by someone else, sorry to say of there outcome, hair bags and what ever else would be useless while hitting full blast and winding up under my truck, but it would sure piss me off for sure....

June 23 2014 at 10:23 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Why hasn't Congress grandstanded and called the CEO's of these companies into hearings? Read many comments on here that suggested that foreign vehicle makers were so much better...even consumer magazine just loves China and Japan products...Give me a break as long as there are corrupt CEO's who are only looking at their bonuses and stock options they could care less about your safety or your family. They will cut corners to line their pockets and our do nothing Congress won't do a thing...its called lobbyist with money and free meals to us out....We continue to fight against each other over wages, unions and other dumb issues...while we just vote these career incompetent fools back in long as humans put things together you are going to have issues including inferior parts built be cheap labor

June 23 2014 at 9:28 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Dale's comment

BECAUSE, the US Congress is filled with REPUBLICANS who are paid by the auto corporations to roll over, look the other way and play dumb!

June 24 2014 at 9:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

well, i will stay with my MUCH safer 67 Chevy pick up with over 475,000 miles with only two safety features that i know of, seat belts and a collapsible steering column! anybody think their new truck, head-on with an old truck??? OLD SCHOOL rules!

June 23 2014 at 6:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bigt12998's comment

Look at the crash testing on youtube old school impala against a new Impala the old school Impala collaspes in a head on crash test,the newer vehicles still hold up much better then the old ones look for yourself.

June 23 2014 at 7:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

For years Toyota's motto was "We do not have recalls" not that they didn't have faulty cars, they just did not recall them. Go back a few years and try and find a Toyota recall! The government finally made Toyota start recalling their vehicles after many, many lawsuits. They would just wait till they came in for service and secretly fix them. If you did not take it back to the dealer it never got fixed. This is highly documented!

June 23 2014 at 4:17 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Philip's comment

I have to agree with you there. In August 2009, my mom and I went out of town to Colorado for about 10 days. We arrived in Denver, picked up our rental car and went about our lives. We were in Colorado from August 3-August 13. And believe you me, after we had been home about 48 hours, the recall on the Corolla and Camry came and my mom and I were just stunned. We thanked our lucky stars that we weren't killed or seriously injured.

We spent 4 days in the mountains our first few days there. We were at Rocky Mountain National Park from August 3- August 7 and during that time we were driving in Rocky Mountain National Park and believe me the drop offs were creepy enough, but the scenery was amazing. One thing had it occurred within Colorado Springs or Denver city limits, somebody might have helped us, but out in the mountains where towns are small and hardly anybody around, I just shudder at the what if this and what if that.

June 23 2014 at 10:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Government reports that one in every 9 accident's were the air bag is deployed kills the person not the accident.. If the same report came out about that one in nine bicyclist were killed from the bicycle handle bars from a accident, Bicycle would be out lawed..

June 23 2014 at 3:31 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to steve's comment

Got any "facts" or data to back up your false claim??

June 23 2014 at 9:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply