As parents handling carpool and chauffeuring our kids from activity to activity, we pretty much live in our cars. So the news that Japanese manufacturer Takata is expected to recall 35 to 40 million air bag inflators—more than doubling the number it had previously recalled—is pretty darn scary, and not something any of us should be taking lightly.
Apparently, the airbags can unexpectedly explode upon impact, shooting metal parts into the faces of both the driver and front-seat passenger. According to the New York Times, at least 11 deaths have been linked to the scary defect, caused by Takata's use of ammonium nitrate in the airbag inflater, which can become unstable over time or if exposed to humidity.
After the first Takata airbag recall back in 2008, the company denied that the problem stemmed from the chemical compound, instead chalking the whole thing up to things like manufacturing flaws and issues with quality control. Only last May did Takata finally come clean.
The new expansion—prompted by three investigations into the rupture conducted by Honda Motor—would bring the total recalled Takata airbags to at least 63 million in the U.S., or possibly one in every four of the 250 million cars on the road. The company has until the end of 2019 to show the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that its inflaters are safe.
The agency has also barred Takata from using ammonium nitrate for new orders. And while the company declined to comment on the expected expanded recall, it did reveal in a statement that it had reviewed the findings of airbag ruptures and would "take all appropriate actions to make sure airbags in Americans' vehicles are safe."
Scary stuff, right? Check the list amassed by Car and Driver to see if your vehicle is affected.