Honda recalls nearly 1.2 million vehicles to replace hazardous airbags

After a recent injury to a minivan driver, Honda has decided to recall as many as 1.2 million more vehicles due to the malfunctioning Takata airbag inflator.

A road crash took place in Maryland, U.S.A., which led to an explosion of the Takata airbag inflator thus causing injuries to the driver. This particular incident has brought the above-mentioned airbag inflator under scrutiny. These types of inflators were once considered safe for use. The auto manufacturer has now recalled a further 1.2 million vehicles which were not included in the previous recall for dangerous airbags. These vehicles from the model year 2001 to 2006 from North and Central America would be inspected and replaced by the company. Takata airbag inflator has the potential of propelling shrapnel into the cabin of the vehicle upon a collision.

Takata is a well-reputed Japanese based automotive parts company that used ammonium nitrate for a small explosion in order to inflate airbags in case of a road collision. Ammonium nitrate, however, has the tendency to become progressively worse if it’s exposed to a humid and high-temperature climate. The inflator thus becomes a source of even destructing a metal canister which can certainly eject large quantities of shrapnel. Although Takata had added a chemical named desiccant in these inflators which has the ability to absorb moisture and hence keep the stability of ammonium nitrate but failed. These inflators have never been a part of such a massive recall. In fact, they have been used for the replacement purpose in recent faulty airbag recalls. So far, more than 20 people have died with many others suffering from injuries.

In January 2018, a 2004 model Honda Odyssey was involved in a crash which initiated an investigation related to the airbag inflator. The investigation was carried out by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In this regard, Honda believes that the inflators made at Takata’s factory in Mexico were faulty which also caused an arm injury to the driver of that Odyssey. The NHTSA also released a similar statement. The recall so far has covered specific models of Honda and Acura mostly in the US and Canada. The models of Honda recalled are mentioned below:

  • Honda Accord (2001-2007) and (2009)
  • Honda CR-V (2002-2007) and (2010-2011)
  • Honda Civic (2001-2005)
  • Honda Element (2003-2011)
  • Honda Fit (2007)
  • Honda Odyssey (2002-2004)
  • Honda Pilot (2003-2008)
  • Honda Ridgeline Pickup (2006-2014)

Some of the models of Acura recalled for faulty airbags are as follows:

  • Acura 3.2CL cars (2003)
  • Acura ILX (2013-2016)
  • Acura MDX (2003-2006)
  • Acura RDX (2007-2016)
  • Acura 3.2TL (2002-2003)
  • Acura TL (2004-2006) and (2009-2014)
  • Acura ZDX (2010-2013)

Furthermore, NHTSA has also asked the vehicle owners to enter the 17-digit vehicle identification number on their website to check the open recall process. On the other hand, Honda will notify Honda owners in April 2019 according to a statement released by the auto manufacturer. However, the recall can also be started earlier as the replacement parts from other manufacturers are readily available to the company. To facilitate its consumers during the inspection and repairing process, Honda is offering free loaner cars.

Takata needs to prove that their inflators with the desiccant chemical are safe by the end of 2019, under the terms of an agreement with NHTSA. Otherwise, all of the vehicles with this particular type of chemical-based inflators will be recalled. By combining all the previous recalls related to Takata airbag inflator, it becomes the largest ever recall in the history of the US. By the end of the next year, nearly 70 million vehicles would be recalled in the US alone. As many as 100 million inflators would be recalled globally due to this particular danger.

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An Electrical Engineer by profession who writes automotive content at Pakwheels and a photographer.