Mazda has announced another Takata air bag recall, this time affecting nearly 375,000 vehicles.
According to the Mazda website, the company is expanding a previous recall to include all 2003-2008 MY Mazda6 vehicles, all 2006-2007 MY Mazdaspeed 6 vehicles, and all 2004 RX8 vehicles nationwide. It also includes all Mazda6 and RX-8 vehicles not repaired under previous recalls.
Mazda stated that the expanded recall is not in response to any reports of accidents, but because Takata testing showed the air bag inflators in these additional vehicles could be prone to ruptures. So far, Takata air bags have been associated with at least 8 deaths and over 100 injuries.
Mazda Indicates Takata Air Bags Could Rupture, Risking Passenger Safety
Mazda filed a notice with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), stating which vehicles were part of this latest recall expansion. In that notice, they stated: “In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the passenger’s frontal air bag, the inflator could rupture with metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants potentially resulting in serious injury or death.”
When automakers first started recalling Takata air bags because of concerns they could explode upon deployment, they were concerned only with driver’s side airbags. Since the NHTSA investigation, however, recalls are increasingly including more passenger frontal air bags, as well.
Consumers can expect to receive a notice from Mazda if they have a vehicle that falls under any of the Takata air bag recalls. Dealers are expected to offer replacement air bag inflators for free, but parts may not be available immediately. Consumers can check the SaferCar.gov website to see if their vehicle is among those awaiting repairs. (Simply enter the VIN on the site to receive results.) Car owners can also contact Mazda customer service at 1-800-222-5500 for more information.
Honda and Subaru Also Expand Takata Air Bag Recalls
According to Mazda’s own summary of the Takata air bags currently being recalled among its vehicles, the total number of driver’s side frontal air bags is 442,266, and the total number of passenger’s side frontal air bags is 416,475.
Mazda isn’t the only one expanding its Takata air bag recalls. At the end of the year in 2015, Honda announced yet another expansion on its recalls, including about 127,000 Honda CR-Vs, model years 2003 and 2004. These are also on the recall list because of potentially defective passenger side frontal air bags. Subaru also recalled its Legacy for air bag issues, model years 2005 through 2008, and Outbacks, model years 2005 through 2008.
The total number of vehicles affected by these recalls in the U.S. is over 19 million, so far. The NHTSA keeps a steady list of all vehicles affected here.
More Recalls Likely to Follow
According to USAToday, these recall expansions are likely to continue. NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind told the Automotive News’ World Congress: “The fact that this crisis festered for so long, that some made efforts to obscure its seriousness, should sober everyone in this industry.”
Back in November 2015, the NHTSA fined Takata $70 million for their mishandling of the air bag issue, along with an additional $130 million if the company fails to make required improvements. One of the requirements is that the company phase out its use of the controversial ammonium-nitrate propellant, which is believed to be unstable and a possible factor in air bag explosions.
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