June 30 (UPI) — Honda is recalling 1.6 million cars in the United States over problems with Takata airbags, with reports confirming 14 related deaths and more than 200 injuries earlier this year.
The recall affects Honda and Acura cars manufactured from 2003 through 2015 in the fifth and final phase of planned recalls. All of them have been recalled a second time to replace inflators also made by Takata before February 2017.
The new inflators will be made by another company.
As of June 7, Honda’s overall Takata inflator recall completion rate was 83 percent since the first recall in May 2016, the company said. In all, Honda will have recalled or accounted for 22.6 million inflators in about 12.9 million vehicles.
In the latest recall, owners will receive notices starting in mid-August 2019.
The company said it is six months ahead of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s deadline for the recall.
“Phase 5 to occur ahead of NHTSA schedule due to significant Acura and Honda repair progress on existing recalls and adequate replacement parts supplies to repair all affected models,” Honda’s statement said. “The company also has adequate replacement parts, all from alternative suppliers, to repair all affected Acura and Honda models, including those in the expanded population.”
Affected Honda models include the 2001-2012 Accord, the 2010-2015 Crosstour, the 2001-2011 Civic, 2002-2011 CR-V, the 2011-2015 CR-Z, the 2003-2011 Element, the 2007-2014 Fit, the 2010-2014 Insight, the 2002-2004 Odyssey, the 2003-2015 Pilot and the 2006-2014 Ridgeline. Acura models include the 2003 3.2CL, the 2013 ILX, the 2003-2006 MDX, the 2015 RDX, the 2005-2012 RL, the 2002-2003 3.2TL, the 2009-2014 TL, the 2009-2014 TSX, and the 2010-2013 ZDX.
NHTSA has found the problem is airbags that use ammonium nitrate-based propellant without a chemical drying agent. Long-term exposure to high temperature fluctuations and humidity breaks down the propellant in these inflators. This can cause it to burn too quickly, create too much pressure on the inflators, “and in extreme cases, the inflator explodes, shooting shrapnel toward vehicle occupants.”
Honda confirmed the 14th death in Honda vehicles in March. Sixteen deaths were confirmed in the United States related to the rupture of faulty Takata airbag inflators, including two in Ford vehicles.
“The Takata airbag recalls are the largest and most complex vehicle recalls in U.S. history,” NHTSA states. “Currently these recalls involve 19 vehicle manufacturers and approximately 46 million Takata airbag inflators in an estimated 34 million vehicles in the United States alone.”
The Japanese automobile parts manufacturers Takata Corp. filed for bankruptcy a couple years ago as it came under press from lawsuits and recall costs worldwide.
Former workers told The New York Times that Takata was aware of and hid defects of its airbags for four years before the first recall over rupture risks in 2008.