July 28, 2014

Source: National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's (NHTSA) Office of Defect Investigation (ODI)

Airbag Recall Expanding due to Exploding Shrapnel Hazard 

Over the past five years, millions of vehicles have been recalled due to the defective design of airbags manufactured by the Japanese Corporation Takata. The flawed design may cause airbag inflators to rupture, casting shrapnel into a vehicle and posing a significant threat to occupants. According to Takata, the propellant inside the inflator was not properly prepared and was too powerful.  They further speculate that processing issues coupled with exposure to high levels of humidity may instigate the explosive outcome. 

After expansive recalls affecting at least nine automakers and 6 reported incidents in Florida and Puerto Rico, an investigation was launched by the Office of Defects Investigation on June 6, 2014. The investigation requested automakers conduct a limited regional campaign for potentially affected vehicles operating in high humidity areas identified as high risk regions, specifically, Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, even if the vehicle manufacturer had not identified a safety defect or made a safety decision.  The following automakers are participating in this campaign:  BMWChryslerFord, Honda, MazdaNissanToyota & Mitsubishi. 

In recent weeks Mazda has recalled certain model year 2003-2004 Mazda6 vehicles and 2004 RX-8 vehicles due to the airbag defect.  Additionally, Nissan has recalled approximately 226,326 2002-2003 Nissan Maxima, Pathfinder and Infiniti I35 and QX4; 2002-2004 Nissan Sentra and 2003 Infiniti FX vehicles. These recalls expand on the ever growing list of affected vehicles which is estimated at approximately 12 million to date. 

The Mazda recall is scheduled to begin sometime in August 2014.  Dealers will inspect the vehicle and perform the necessary service free of charge.  Owners may contact Mazda directly at 1-800-222-5500 and reference safety recall no. 7714F.  Additional details can also be found by referencing NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 14V362000.

The Nissan recall is scheduled to begin on August 11, 2014.  Dealers will inspect the vehicle and perform the necessary service free of charge.  Owners may contact Nissan directly at 1-800-647-7261.  Additional details can also be found by referencing NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 14V361000.

Chrysler Defect Can Impact Airbag System

A recall has been issued for approximately 643,618 Chrysler vehicles due to a defect impacting the safe operation of the airbag system.  The following vehicles are included in the recall class:  2005-2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles manufactured February 11, 2004, to July 5, 2007, and 2006-2007 Jeep Commander vehicles manufactured January 31, 2005, to July 5, 2007.

In the affected vehicles, the driver may accidentally hit the ignition key with their knee, unintentionally knocking the key out of the run position, turning off the engine. If the ignition key inadvertently moves into the OFF or ACCESSORY position, the engine will turn off, which will then depower various key safety systems including but not limited to airbags, power steering, and power braking. Until this recall is performed, drivers should adjust their seat to allow clearance between the driver's knee and the ignition key, and remove all items from their key ring, leaving only the vehicle key.

This recall is scheduled to sometime in September 2014.  Dealers will inspect the vehicle and perform the necessary service free of charge.  Owners may contact Chrysler directly at 1-800-853-1403 and reference safety recall no. P41.  Additional details can also be found by referencing NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 14V438000. 

Owners are encouraged to contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153) or go to www.safercar.gov with any questions or concerns surrounding these or any other recalls or safety campaigns.