Because of new safety test results, automotive supplier Takata Corp. is recalling an additional 2.7 million driver-side frontal air bag inflators that are at risk for rupturing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported.
The PSDI-5 air bag inflators at issue use calcium sulfate as a drying agent, NHTSA said. But the inflator’s propellant might still degrade after long-term exposure to high humidity and temperatures. Such degradation can lead the propellant to burn too quickly and create excessive pressure that the inflator can’t withstand. If the inflator ruptures as a result, shrapnel can strike and injure vehicle occupants.
These air bag inflators were assembled as part of the frontal air bag modules used as original or replacement equipment in Ford, Nissan and Mazda vehicles, according to a Reuters report.
This latest recall expansion covers only inflators containing calcium sulfate as a drying agent. Takata, which filed for bankruptcy protection last month, is now working with the affected automakers to determine which vehicles will be subject to recall as a result of the new safety test conclusions. NHTSA will announce those recalls at a later date, with Ford vehicles representing the lion’s share.
On Monday, July 10, a 12th death in the U.S. was tied to an exploding Takata air bag inflator, according to a report from USA Today. The victim was performing repairs inside a 2001 Honda Accord on June 18, 2016, in Hialeah, Fla., when the inflator ruptured. He died the following day.
A total of 17 deaths globally have been linked to the air bag inflators. Eventually, Takata’s recalled air bag inflators are expected to reach the 100 million mark worldwide. Because of the scarcity of replacement inflators, the recalls are being conducted in phases in the U.S. Vehicles at a higher risk, based on age and location climate, have higher priority.