If you own a 2001-2003 model year Honda or Acura, you may need to stop driving it immediately due to the high risk of rupturing Takata airbags. That’s the latest warning from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
The agency issued its new urgent warning Thursday citing new data showing Takata airbags in those vehicles have as much as a 50 percent chance of exploding in the event of a crash.
Calling the risk “grave”, the NHTSA says it is critical these models be repaired now to avoid more deaths and serious injuries. Eight of the 10 confirmed U.S. deaths due to Takata ruptures were in this population of vehicles.
Stop Driving These Models Immediately and Call Your Dealer:
The vehicles in question were recalled between 2008 and 2011. Honda has reported that more than 70 percent of this higher-risk population of vehicles has already been repaired, but approximately 313,000 vehicles with this very dangerous defect remain unrepaired.
The vehicles contain a manufacturing defect that “greatly increases the potential for dangerous rupture when a crash causes the airbag to deploy,” the Transportation Department said in its statement.
Lab tests of the vehicles showed rupture rates of has high as 50 percent.
“The air bag inflators in this particular group of vehicles pose a grave danger to drivers and passengers that must be fixed right away,” said NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind. “Drivers should visit SaferCar.gov or contact their local dealer to check whether their vehicle is affected. If it is, they should have the vehicle repaired immediately for free at an authorized dealer. We commend Honda for taking additional actions to get these vehicles repaired.”
Nearly 70 million defective Takata air bag inflators are or will be under recall by 2019, in the largest and most complex auto safety recall in U.S. history. The airbags can explode due to a chemical propellant breakdown over time due to long-term exposure to heat and humidity.