The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is making a concerted effort to ensure that older vehicles with Takata airbag inflators -- particularly model-year 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles -- are found and fixed before they cause further injuries or fatalities.
The push comes as a result of new test data, which according to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx show, “as high as a 50% chance of a dangerous airbag inflator rupture in a crash. Folks should not drive these vehicles unless they are going straight to a dealer to have them repaired immediately, free of charge.”
The higher-risk inflators are in the following vehicles:
- 2001-2002 Honda Civic
- 2001-2002 Honda Accord
- 2002-2003 Acura TL
- 2002 Honda CR-V
- 2002 Honda Odyssey
- 2003 Acura CL
- 2003 Honda Pilot
Manufacturing defect increases risk
The airbag inflators in the above listed vehicles contain a manufacturing defect that, according to NHTSA, greatly increases the potential for dangerous rupture when a crash causes the airbag to deploy.
Ruptures are much more likely to occur in inflators if vehicles have spent significant periods of time in areas of high absolute humidity -- particularly Florida, Texas, other parts of the Gulf Coast, and Southern California. Testing of the inflators from these vehicles show rupture rates as high as 50% in a laboratory setting, the agency stated.
The vehicles in this grouping were recalled between 2008 and 2011. Honda has reported that more than 70% of this higher-risk population of vehicles has already been repaired, but nearly 313,000 vehicles remain unrepaired.
What to do
Drivers of these vehicles should immediately visit SaferCar.gov to check whether their vehicle has any outstanding safety recalls. Those that do should contact their nearest dealer to schedule a no-cost immediate repair. Replacement parts for these vehicles are available immediately.
Nearly 70 million Takata air bag inflators are or will be under recall by 2019, in the largest and most complex auto safety recall in U.S. history.