If you drive a Ford, Mazda, or Nissan, you may want to replace your driver's side airbag. Because airbag-maker Takata has just added 2.7 million more vehicles from those three manufacturers to its already massive recall list, after finding the airbags to be potentially dangerous.
The problem, it seems, is with the type of inflators Takata used that were previously thought to be safe. During testing, however, it was discovered that the inflators in question—which use calcium sulfate as a drying agent—can actually explode with too much force and send shrapnel flying into both the driver and passengers.
Scary stuff! So here's what you need to know: Ford, Mazda, and Nissan installed these airbags on the driver's side of vehicles manufactured for the U.S. between 2005 and 2012. The recall affects just over 515,000 Nissan Versa subcompact hatchbacks and sedans manufactured in 2007 through 2012, and about 6,000 Mazda B-Series trucks made in 2007 through 2009. Ford is currently reviewing the information and plans to file a list of models within the five days required by law.
The recall adds to the previous recall of 70 million Takata airbags in 42 million vehicles. So far, about 17 million airbags have been replaced in the United States. Meanwhile, at least 17 deaths worldwide, including 12 in the United States, have been linked to Takata's inflators. And since the new recall involves inflators the company originally claimed to be safe, many safety advocates are now worried that the amount of faulty airbags out there could expand even further.
"This recall now raises serious questions about the threat posed by all of Takata's ammonium-nitrate-based airbags," said Senator Bill Nelson, who is now calling on regulators to quickly determine whether all remaining Takata airbag inflaters are safe. "If even more are found to be defective, it will take us from the biggest recall ever to something that could become mind-boggling."