Airbag recall made after safety devices could deploy without warning, The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Saturday the recall was issued following the unexpected deployment of airbags in about 40 cars that had already been fixed under a previous recall.
All 2.12 million vehicles involved in the latest warning were already under recall for an airbag default.[fwdevp preset_id=”8″ video_path=”WnVbs5YPEJQ”]
The new recall covers Acura MDX, Dodge Viper, Jeep Liberty and Grand Cherokee, Honda Odyssey, Pontiac Vibe, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Matrix and Toyota Avalon models made in the early 2000s.
All the vehicles were subject to earlier recalls to address a problem with an electronic component manufactured by TRW that caused some airbags to deploy inadvertently — that is, in the absence of a crash.
“We have identified about 400 inadvertent deployments in these vehicles and we are aware of 39 deployments in vehicles that were previously repaired,” said Mark Rosekind, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Of the inadvertent deployments, nine involved ruptures caused by a flawed inflator produced by Takata. Those resulted in three injuries, Rosekind said, including an eye injury, burns and scratches. No one was killed.
Fiat Chrysler said that in response to the NHTSA action it is recalling 928,497 vehicles in North America, including 753,156 in the U.S. The recall is national. Climate is not a factor.
Rosekind said it could be until the end of 2015 for the three automakers to complete this latest repair on all recalled vehicles.
Affected models are 2002 through 2004 Jeep Cherokees and Grand Cherokees, 2002 and 2003 Jeep Libertys and 2003 and 2004 Dodge Vipers.
Toyota is recalling just over 1 million vehicles as part of this action, including Corollas, Matrixes and Avalons from 2003 and 2004 model years, as well as Pontiac Vibes from the same years that were assembled in a plant then jointly owned by Toyota and General Motors.
Honda is recalling about 374,000 Odyssey minivans from 2003 and 2004 model years, as well as 2003 Acura MDX utility vehicles.
Consumers who have questions about the recall, or wish to report a possible vehicle safety issue, may call NHTSA’s Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236. Fiat Chrysler offered its own number for concerned customers: 1-800-853-1403.
For Toyota owners, information is available at www.toyota.com/recall or by calling Toyota Customer Service at 1-800-331-4331.
Rosekind said the new remedy involves replacing the electronic control module, including a circuit produced by TRW Automotive that triggers the air bag deployment.
He emphasized that owners still must respond to the initial recall to replace the inflators made by Takata, but this second repair is equally necessary.
“We don’t want people waiting for just the last fix,” Rosekind said. “There is still a benefit for having that initial remedy completed.”
Toyota also is urging owners to continue bringing their cars to dealers for the original remedy, which is an electrical noise filter.
“Due to the effectiveness of the noise filter, Toyota will continue to provide the filter as the initial step in remedying the vehicles,” the company said in a statement. “New airbag control modules will be installed as they become available.”
The latest air bag issue does not directly involve Takata, but this recall complicates an ongoing battle between NHTSA and the Japanese supplier over air bags that can rupture and spray metal fragments into drivers and passengers.
Honda said this week it is exploring whether the rupture of a Takata air bag caused the death of Carlos Solis, who died Jan. 18 near Houston when his 2002 Honda Accord crashed with another car, triggering a rupture of the air bag. A sheriff’s report stated that metal fragments struck Solis in the neck.
If a link is proven that would be the sixth death in the U.S. attributed to malfunctioning Takata air bags.
More than 10 automakers are recalling more than 8 million vehicles in the U.S. for that problem.