U.S. regulators announced on Friday that a new recall has been issued for about five million vehicles with potentially defective Takata air bags -- including automakers and vehicles that weren't previously affected by what may be the largest auto safety recall in U.S. history.

New recall brings number of U.S. vehicles affected to 24 million

This latest recall brings the number of vehicles affected in the U.S. to as many as 24 million, according to a Reuters report based on information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

New automakers added to the list include Volkswagen, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz.

The announcement comes just weeks after U.S. auto-safety regulators revealed that a ninth person died after an incident linked to the Takata airbag recall. Officials say the motorist was killed when a Takata airbag inflator exploded as it deployed, causing fatal injuries after throwing shrapnel at the victim.

In December, Honda, Subaru, and Mazda each added hundreds of thousands of vehicles to the massive recall, including model year 2005 to 2008 Mazda6, 2002 to 2004 Honda CR-V and 2005 to 2008 Subaru Legacy and Outback. More details here.

With regulators and car manufacturers accelerating their response to the biggest automotive recall in American history, now is a good time to familiarize yourself with how the matter might affect you.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced in December that another death has been linked to the recall of Takata airbags that can explode and spit "potentially lethal shrapnel at passengers." The eighth U.S. death related to the recall was the result of a driver side airbag rupture in a vehicle located in an area of high humidity.

The NHTSA fined Japanese parts supplier Takata $70 million in November for not being forthcoming about safety risks associated with their airbags, which the government says have caused nine deaths and almost 100 injuries on U.S. roadways. For similar reasons, Honda announced Tuesday that it is cutting ties with the company.

These actions underscore the seriousness of the recall. 

 

Here is some of the most updated information about the automobiles subject to the recall, as well as steps you can take to ensure your vehicle’s safety.

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What caused the recall?

Several Takata-made airbags have ruptured upon deployment, in some cases sending shrapnel toward vehicle occupants. Consumer Reports elaborates:

“At the heart of the problem is the airbag’s inflator, a metal cartridge loaded with propellant wafers, which in some cases has ignited with explosive force. If the inflator housing ruptures in a crash, metal shards from the airbag can be sprayed throughout the passenger cabin — a potentially disastrous outcome from a supposedly life-saving device.”

Despite the hazards, incidents of injuries and casualties fortunately have been infrequent. Takata said in June that it was aware of 88 airbag ruptures out of more than 1.2 million deployments in the last 15 years. (Of these, 67 were driver-side airbag ruptures, and 21 were on the passenger side.) The NHTSA said in an announcement of penalties on Takata that the ruptures "have caused 7 deaths and nearly 100 injuries in the United States."

Identifying the root causes of these misfires — from environmental factors to design flaws — is a work in progress. One step the NHTSA has taken is to mandate that Takata phase-out the use of a particular propellant used to expand the airbag, “which is believed to be a factor” in the documented ruptures.

Which makes and models of vehicles are affected?

The NHTSA updated its list Oct. 30. The vehicles under the recall as of that date are as follows:

BMW:

2000 - 328i
2001-2006 - M3
2002-2003 - M5
2000 - 323i
2002-2006 - 325Ci
2002-2006 - 330Ci
2002-2003 - 325iT
2002-2003 - 325XiT
2001-2006 - 325i
2001-2005 - 325Xi
2001-2006 - 330i
2001-2005 - 330Xi
2002-2003 - 525i
2002-2003 - 530i
2002-2003 - 540i
2003-2004 - X5 3.0i
2003-2004 - X5 4.4i

FCA (Chrysler):

2007-2008 Chrysler Aspen
2005-2010 Chrysler 300
2005-2010 Chrysler 300C
2005-2010 Chrysler SRT8
2008-2010 Dodge Challenger
2006-2010 Dodge Charger
2005-2011 Dodge Dakota
2004-2008 Dodge Durango
2005-2008 Dodge Magnum
2003-2009 Dodge Ram 1500 
2003-2009 Dodge Ram 2500
2003-2009 Dodge Ram 3500
2008-2010 Dodge Ram 4500
2008-2010 Dodge Ram 5500

Daimler Trucks North America:

2008-2009 Sterling Bullet 4500
2008-2009 Sterling Bullet 5500

Daimler Vans USA LLC:

2007-2008 Dodge Sprinter 2500 UPDATED
2007-2008 Dodge Sprinter 3500UPDATED
2007-2008 Freightliner Sprinter 2500
2007-2008 Freightliner Sprinter 3500

Ford:

2004-2006 Ranger
2005-2006 GT
2005-2014 Mustang

General Motors (GM):

2007-2008 Chevrolet Silverado 2500
2007-2008 Chevrolet Silverado 3500
2007-2008 GMC Sierra 2500
2007-2008 GMC Sierra 3500
2003-2007 Pontiac Vibe
2005 Saab 9-2x

Honda:

2001-2007 Accord
2001-2005 Civic
2003-2005 Civic Hybrid
2001-2004 Civic CNGNEW
2002-2006 CR-V
2003-2011 Element
2002-2004 Odyssey
2003-2008 Pilot
2006 Ridgeline
2003 Acura CL
2002-2003 Acura TL
2003-2006 Acura MDX
2005 Acura RL

Mazda:

2004-2006 B-Series Truck
2003-2008 Mazda6
2006-2007 Mazda Mazdaspeed6
2004-2005 MPV
2004-2008 RX-8

Mitsubishi:

2004-2006 Lancer
2004-2006 Lancer Evolution
2004 Lancer Sportback
2006-2009 Mitsubishi Raider

Nissan:

2001-2003 Nissan Maxima
2002-2006 Nissan Sentra
2002-2004 Nissan Pathfinder
2001 Infiniti I30
2003-2005 Infiniti FX35
2003-2005 Infiniti FX45
2002-2004 Infiniti I35
2006 Infiniti M35
2006 Infiniti M45
2002-2003 Infiniti QX4

Subaru:

2003-2005 Baja
2004-2005 Impreza
2003-2005 Legacy
2003-2005 Outback

Toyota:

2003-2007 Corolla
2003-2007 Corolla Matrix
2004-2005 Rav4
2002-2007 Sequoia
2003-2006 Tundra
2002-2007 Lexus SC

You can also use the NHTSA’s Vehicle Identification Number lookup tool at https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/ to see if your automobile is part of this or any other recall. Your vehicle’s VIN is on the lower driver-side corner of your vehicle, facing outward. The number can also be found on your registration and insurance documents.

The weather where you live could be a factor

Although this recall applies to vehicles all over the United States, the airbag issues seem most pressing in high-humidity, high-temperature locations, such as the Southeast, the Gulf Coast states, Hawaii and U.S. island territories. According to Consumer Reports, repairers in these places have been given top priority for receiving replacement parts.

Not every airbag is vulnerable

The recall is a precaution of unprecedented scale, but not every Takata-made airbag is a sure thing to go bad. The risk to drivers and passengers, however, is unacceptably high. Takata reported 265 ruptures out of more than 30,000 tests on airbag inflators that were returned as a result of the recall — an 0.8% rate, which is a higher frequency than the on-road incidents that have been documented.

Further reading: NHTSA, Consumer Reports

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