The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced that it is adding another 35-40 million products to its already record-setting recall of the Takata airbag. The NHTSA estimates that it will take through 2019 to complete the recall so, even if your car is on the list, you may not receive a replacement airbag for quite some time. To determine whether your car is on the list, the NHTSA has a website (www.safercar.gov) that you can check.
What’s wrong with these airbags? The chemical that Takata used to ignite the inflation degrades over time and with exposure to hot and humid conditions. If degraded enough, it can cause the airbag to rupture during deployment. In the airbags that are subject to the recall, Takata failed to use another chemical that could have countered the impact of moisture.
Cars affected by the expanded Takata airbag recall will be repaired in phases between now and December 2019. The phases are based on the age of the car and exposure to heat and humidity since those factors determine the risk. Cars that are less than six years old are not currently at risk for rupture, although they will become so over time. Twenty-six brands are currently impacted. Check to see if your car is on the list and, if so, contact your dealer to see when a repair will be available.