This time, U.S. regulators aren’t taking any chances.
Wednesday, the U.S Department of Transportation ordered Takata to recall 35 to 40 million more airbags. The recalls will take place in phases through 2019.
Essentially, the expanded recall means Takata must now recall every single one of its ammonium nitrate-based propellant airbag inflators without a chemical drying agent known as a desiccant. It prevents moisture absorption and without it, moisture can cause inflators to degrade and explode when deployed under certain conditions.
Wednesday’s expanded recall is on top of the nearly 29 million inflators already covered by the largest recall campaign ever in U.S. history.
“Today’s action is a significant step in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s aggressive oversight of Takata on behalf of drivers and passengers across America,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The acceleration of this recall is based on scientific evidence and will protect all Americans from air bag inflators that may become unsafe.”
Under the Amended Consent Order, these expanded recalls will take part in five phases between May 2016 and December 2019. The phases are prioritized by risk: the age of the inflators, the exposure to high humidity and fluctuating high temperatures that accelerate the degradation of the chemical propellant.
“Everyone plays a role in making sure that this recall is completed quickly and safely, including manufacturers, suppliers and vehicle owners themselves,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “This recall schedule ensures the inflators will be recalled and replaced before they become dangerous, giving vehicle owners sufficient time to have them replaced before they pose a danger to vehicle occupants. NHTSA will continue to evaluate all available research and will act quickly to protect safety.”
The NHTSA will detail the phases and vehicle prioritization more specifically this summer.
For up to date information about the Takata airbag inflator recall head to SaferCar.gov.