Air bags are installed in cars to protect drivers and passengers — not endanger them by exploding and sending shrapnel flying. Yet there’s a risk of just that happening with some air bags, which is why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Monday that millions of vehicles equipped with potentially hazardous air bags are being recalled.
The recalls affect cars made by BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, and Toyota. Owners of those cars can get more information about the recalled models from the NHTSA site.
In a statement, NHTSA said the recalls are “influenced by a NHTSA investigation into six reports of air bag inflator ruptures, all of which occurred in Florida and Puerto Rico. 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.”
BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, and Toyota provided reports to NHTSA about their individual investigations and will have regional recalls of certain cars sold in places with hot, humid weather — including Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and the Virgin Islands — because it can impact air bags with parts made by Japan’s Takata Corporation.
Separately, Honda, Mazda, and Nissan recalled roughly 2 million older vehicles in the U.S. The recall comes less than two weeks after Toyota recalled 2.3 million cars for the same issue, which is linked to air bag inflators that can rupture and send metal pieces flying.
Last year, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Toyota, and BMW recalled roughly 3.6 million cars for the same issue, but Takata said earlier recall lists may not include all of the suspect air bags.
Takata, a prominent worldwide supplier of air bags, seat belts, and steering wheels based in Tokyo, has had 10 million cars with its air bags recalled since 2009.
Air bags accounted for nearly half of Takata’s $5.47 billion in sales last year. It said that car makers are responsible for handling recalls by notifying owners and replacing the air bags.
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