• takata airbag defect

The defect causing the Takata airbag recall stems from the propellant the manufacturer used in the inflator.

What Propellant Does Takata Use in Its Airbags?

Regulators determined that the potentially deadly flaw in the Takata airbag lies in the airbag’s propellant. To inflate the airbags, Takata used an ammonium nitrate compound without a drying agent. However, this propellant can burn too fast and cause the inflator to explode.

Two factors affect the propellant’s propensity to explode. One is the volatility of ammonium nitrate.

takata airbag defect

A propellant inside the inflator of a Takata airbag may explode, causing metal to eject from the airbag when it deploys.

Ammonium nitrate is a cheap, volatile compound that creates a small explosion in the inflator that fills the airbag quickly in the event of a crash. Exposure to high humidity and hot temperatures, and potentially other factors, can cause the chemical to deteriorate and burn too fast, fracturing the metal inflator.

When the airbag deploys in a crash, the exploding metal inflator may send shrapnel out of the airbag and into the cabin of the vehicle. The shrapnel may strike the driver or passenger, causing serious injury or even death.

The second is factor that affects the propellant is age. Inflators can become unsafe over a period of time, and the process can occur faster when the inflator is exposed to high humidity and hot temperatures. The ammonium nitrate propellant may also degrade due to repeated temperature fluctuations.

How Many Vehicles Has the Defect Affected?

According to the NHTSA, 19 different automakers have recalled a total of 37 million vehicles, as of March 2018. The recall affects 50 million driver-side and passenger-side airbags, as of March 2018.

The NHTSA estimates a total of 65 to 70 million airbags will need to be recalled by the end of 2019.

How Long Has Takata Known About the Defect?

According to Takata’s chief quality officer, it began investigating its inflators in May 2005 after it learned of a 2004 accident in a Honda Accord. However, Reuters found that the airbag manufacturer actually began investigations “as early as 2003.”

Has the Defect Caused Any Injuries?

According to the NHTSA, defective Takata airbags have caused 15 deaths in the United States. Over 200 people have suffered injury as of March 2018. More deaths have occurred worldwide.

What Is the Manufacturer Doing About the Defect?

All automakers that used these PSAN airbags without a drying agent have recalled (or will later recall) all affected vehicles. Manufacturers will send letters to owners of the affected vehicles detailing what to do next. The automakers will replace the affected airbags for free.

What Can I Do If I Believe I Have a Defective Airbag?

Not everyone has received their letters yet. You can check your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on our Takata Recall Search Tool. To find your VIN, stand outside your vehicle and look at the bottom right corner of your windshield.

If you determine your vehicle has been affected by this defect, call your automaker for a free replacement.

Can I Drive My Vehicle If it Is Under Recall?

There are various models that automakers have determined are not safe to drive. They include:

2002-2003 Acura TLCertain 2006 Ford Rangers2001-2002 Honda CivicCertain Mazda B-Series trucks
2003 Acura CL 2001-2002 Honda Accord 
  2002 Honda CR-V 
  2002 Honda Odyssey 
  2003 Honda Pilot 

The Honda and Acura models listed above include “alpha” inflators. These inflators are the oldest that currently exist and have a “50 percent risk of a type of failure that has caused serious injuries or deaths,” according to the NHTSA. Over 50 percent of the deaths linked to the Takata airbags involved Alpha inflators.

Ford and Mazda have advised some owners of model year 2006 Rangers and B-Series trucks not to drive these vehicles until the Takata airbags are replaced.

Discuss Your Case with Our Team

If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to the deployment of a defective airbag, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. A defective airbags lawyer may be able to help. Call the product liability attorneys at Newsome Melton to discuss your case today: 888-221-5316.