NHTSA investigating Takata airbag inflaters in another 30 million vehicles
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into airbag inflators in another 30 million automobiles. The new investigation is in addition to 67 million Takata airbags that have already been subject to recall.
NHTSA has announced an engineering investigation into Takata driver-side and front passenger-side airbag inflators. The airbags may have been used in vehicles built by over 20 automakers including:
- General Motors
The vehicles involved in this investigation were manufactured between 2001 and 2019. It may also include airbags that were installed as replacements for previous recalls of airbags.
Desiccant Missing or At Fault
The airbag inflators in the current investigation contain a desiccant which is intended to keep the units dry and prevent moisture from damaging the components. Though the new investigation was not prompted by crash or injury, it is examining other models using the same airbag system.
Units that have previously been recalled over moisture-related concerns did not contain the desiccant, allowing for moisture to potentially damage airbag inflators. In some cases, damaged inflators have resulted in airbag explosion during crash, and may have been responsible for at least 19 deaths and 400 injuries in the U.S. alone. The new investigation should ascertain whether desiccants are preventing degradation.
NHTSA has said that this is only an investigation and not an official recall. No action is recommended at this time and NHTSA has stated they will determine whether or not a safety defect exists, and what actions should be taken.
Industry experts have stated that the investigation is appropriate and that though the issue may be lower-risk than previous issues, some risk may be present. Automakers have indicated plans to cooperate with NHTSA recommendations concerning safety and airbags in particular.
Airbag Troubles Ongoing
Though airbags have dramatically increased the safety of consumer vehicles, they have been an ongoing concern for manufacturers and the public alike. Previously, several recalls have been issued for Takata airbags and for airbags from other manufacturers. Recalls have affected over 300 million automobiles, including cars and trucks.