Honda recalling 20 million additional Takata Corp airbags

U.S. auto safety regulators are in talks with Takata Corp. to add tens of millions of air bag inflators to what already is the biggest auto recall in American history three people briefed on the matter said Tuesday

The problem, attributed to ammonium nitrate propellant not treated with a drying agent called desiccant, has resulted in the deaths of 13 people worldwide - the vast majority of which were in the US - and more than 100 injuries. You can also search your car's Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on SaferCar.gov. Another document cited a Takata manager who wrote an internal memo warning that the company had used inaccurate information to determine the scope of one of the recalls.

Q. What is wrong with these air bags?
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The expanded recall covers all front air bags that do not have a chemical drying agent known as a desiccant. Accordingly, newer cars from less humid climates will be given less priority in the recall.

NHTSA officials demanded in meetings last week with Takata that it agree to the expansion.

Find out if your vehicle may be affected here. The first notice of defect will be filed on May 16 affecting 14 million USA inflators. Use this vehicle recall tool to see if yours has a recall out on it. The world's largest recall is a serious financial issue for Takata. As cars age, the risk grows, especially in areas where temperatures frequently cycle from cool to hot.

Q. How long will I have to wait for a replacement?

The government said the inflators have to be replaced before they reach 6 years old, when the risk of rupture increases. Other manufacturers are also supplying replacement air bags.

According to The Guardian, with 1 in every 4 vehicles on the road now estimated to be equipped with potentially faulty airbags, repairs are expected to take until December 2019 to complete.

"It is tough, because it's such a massive recall that the parts aren't available", said Charles West, of West Chevrolet in Alcoa. With the prior recalls, the move means a substantial number of cars on the road are in need of having their air bags repaired. In the coldest states, it's 15 to 20 years.

The devices are already at the center of the biggest recall in the nation's history. Takata's stock has crashed about 80% in the past year as fears over the impact of the air bag scandal have intensified.

"The acceleration of this recall is based on scientific evidence and will protect all Americans from airbag inflators that may become unsafe", said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

The latest recall followed the report of three separate investigations carried out by Honda, Takata and a consortium of 10 automakers.

In the first Houston fatality we reported on a year ago, the effect of that safety issue was shrapnel shooting into the person's neck "with an explosive force severe enough to lodge the metal into his cervical spine and shoulder".

Takata Corp. has agreed to initiate future expanded recalls covering all non-desiccated frontal airbag inflators containing phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate (PSAN) in the United States that were not covered by previous recalls.

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