Takata Recall Expansion: What Consumers Need to Know

Summary

Key Points

  • In May 2016, NHTSA issued an Amended Consent Order to Takata expanding the Takata air bag recalls to include all of Takata’s air bag inflators made with phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate (PSAN) propellant without a desiccant (a drying agent).
  • Long-term exposure to high heat and humidity can cause these air bags to fail.
  • NHTSA issued an updated Priority Group list that prioritizes the vehicle recalls based on risk.
  • Vehicles currently under recall are searchable using NHTSA’s Recalls Lookup Tool and are included on this list of affected vehicles. Vehicles that are scheduled to be recalled in the future (according to the table below) are not yet searchable on the Recalls Lookup Tool, but are included in the list of affected vehicles. Consumers are urged to use the Recalls Lookup Tool to determine if their vehicle is currently subject to these, or other, safety recalls. Consumers are also encouraged to search this Recalls Lookup Tool for recalls at least twice a year, and to sign up for NHTSA’s Recall Alerts to be notified by e-mail of new recalls that may affect them.

Summary

In May 2016 the Takata air bag recalls were expanded and, through a series of scheduled recalls, all of Takata’s non-desiccated PSAN inflators (inflators that do not contain a “desiccant,” or drying agent) will be recalled by December 31, 2019. This phased expansion will result in the recall of an additional estimated 35-40 million inflators, on top of the approximately 28.8 million inflators that were already under recall. Investigation into the safety of Takata’s desiccated PSAN propellant inflators (inflators that do contain a drying agent) is ongoing. Takata’s desiccated PSAN inflators must be proven safe by December 31, 2019, or NHTSA may order that those inflators be recalled as well.

Prior to this recall expansion, NHTSA and its independent expert reviewed the findings of three independent investigations into the Takata air bag inflator explosions. The combination of time, temperature fluctuations, and humidity contribute to the breakdown of the PSAN propellant in the inflators. This breakdown can cause the propellant to burn too quickly, which creates more pressure than the inflator can withstand. In extreme cases, this causes the inflator to explode and send shrapnel through the air bag toward vehicle occupants.

After consultation with the affected vehicle manufacturers and Takata, NHTSA prioritized the recall of non-desiccated PSAN air bag inflators based on the risk of injury or death to vehicle occupants. As the chart below shows, recalls are phased by the location and age of the vehicles. This schedule is designed to ensure that vehicles are recalled before the propellant in the inflators breaks down to the point of becoming dangerous. The phased recalls began in May 2016 and will continue through December 2019.

Takata Defect Filing DateZone A VehiclesZone B VehiclesZone C Vehicles
 
May 16, 2016MY 2011 & OlderMY 2008 & OlderMY 2004 & Older
December 31, 2016MY 2012 & OlderMY 2009 & OlderMY 2008 & Older
December 31, 2017MY 2013 & OlderMY 2010 & OlderMY 2009 & Older
December 31, 2018All remaining vehiclesAll remaining vehiclesAll remaining vehicles
December 31, 2019All like-for-like replacement partsAll like-for-like replacement partsAll like-for-like replacement parts
Schedule for Recalls

Recall Zones Based on Temperature & Humidity

Zone A: Hot & Humid

Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan), and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Zone B: Less Hot & Humid

Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia

Zone C: Least Hot & Humid

Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming

All vehicle owners are urged to check for recalls at least twice a year using the Recalls Lookup Tool. Also make sure that your vehicle’s registration includes your correct, current address so that your vehicle manufacturer can reach you if your vehicle is recalled for any reason.