More than 2 million Toyota, Chrysler and Honda vehicles are being recalled for a second fix for faulty airbags that may inadvertently inflate while the car is running.
The recall includes some Acura MDX, Dodge Viper, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Honda Odyssey, Pontiac Vibe, Toyota Corolla and Toyota Avalon models made from 2002 to 2004. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says all of the vehicles covered in Saturday’s announcement had already been under a recall for the faulty airbags, but the carmakers’ original attempts to fix the defects only worked about 85 percent of the time.
The new recall will fully replace the faulty electronic control unit, which is made by TRW Automotive Holdings Corp of Livonia, Michigan. In the previous recall the unit was only partially replaced. The new remedy will be available to all affected vehicles by the end of the year.
However, the NHTSA is urging consumers with cars under the first recall to have the partial unit installed, even if they have to return to the dealer under the second recall.
“Even though it’s a temporary solution until the new remedy is available,” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said, consumers “and their families will be safer if they take the time to learn if their vehicle is covered and follow their manufacturers’ instructions.”
About 39 airbags have inadvertently deployed that had been remedied under the previous recall.
The agency says about 1 million Toyota and Honda vehicles involved in the new recalls are also subject to a separate recall related to defective airbags made by Takata Corp. of Japan. Those airbags can deploy and rupture with enough force to cause injury or death.
In nine cases, cars had problems that included both the inadvertent deployment and the Takata rupture. Three of those cases resulted in injuries, including eye injuries, scratches and burns.
No deaths or injuries related to non-Takata airbag failures have been reported.
The announcement comes days after the family of Carlos Solis filed a lawsuit against Takata. Solis, 35, died on Jan. 18 in a minor crash in a Houston suburb. The lawsuit alleges that as an airbag in his 2002 Honda Accord inflated, it sent a piece of metal into his neck. Solis died at the scene. His death has not officially been linked to the airbag.
Takata is under fire for airbag inflators that can explode, shooting out metal and plastic pieces. At least five deaths and dozens of injuries have been linked to the problem worldwide. Ten automakers have recalled about 12 million vehicles in the U.S. and about 19 million globally for problems with the airbags. The company is still trying to determine the cause of the problem.
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