Takata Air Bag Recall, Part 2

Back in May of this year, it was announced that Takata had recalled its air bags used in several different vehicle manufacturer’s vehicles.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Takata has extended that recall to include 19 million vehicles from 12 manufacturers.  The current list of manufacturers includes BMW, Honda, Mazda, Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Daimler Trucks North America, Daimler Vans USA, Subaru, Ford, Toyota, and General Motors.  Owners are advised to go to www.safercar.gov and click on the “Takata Recall” button on the toolbar to see of their specific vehicle is on the list of those recalled.  Note that the list is extensive and should be reviewed carefully.  The website also offers owners an option to enter their vehicle identification numbers to check for recalls.  The vehicle identification number can be found on most vehicles on the lower left corner of the windshield or the manufacturers sticker located on the inside edge of the driver’s side door or pillar.  The vehicle identification number is a seventeen digit number unique to each vehicle.  Owners can also check with their dealers for recall information.

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Takata Airbag Recall

Earlier this year, several automobile manufacturers announced recalls of different vehicle makes as a result of faulty airbags manufactured by a Japanese company called Takata.  Takata manufactured airbags for both driver and passenger’s sides in the recalled vehicles.  After investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and others, it has been determined that the propellant used in the airbags has a tendency to deteriorate in humid areas.  As a result, when the airbag is deployed, the combustion of the propellant which produces the pressure to inflate the bag can do so with greater than necessary force.  The excessive force can cause the inflator to rupture sending pieces of metal to the occupant of either the driver or passenger seat resulting in greater risk of injury to the occupant.  The vehicles that are involved in this recall are Acura, BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota.  The recall covers models years generally from 2002 through 2008.  In order to determine if the recall applies to a specific vehicle, owners can go to the manufacturer’s website and use its VIN lookup tool or contact a dealer and ask to speak with a service writer then give that person the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

“Did you hear the one about the Honda…”

Seems that Honda is at it again – recalling more vehicles.  Not too long ago Honda recalled 2005-2010 Accord, 2007-2010 CR-V, and 2005-2008 Element vehicles.  All of the recalled vehicles had a problem with a bearing race.  This time, Honda is recalling 2006 CR-V vehicles for a power window switch that can cause a fire.  Honda is also recalling 2011 CR-Z vehicles with manual transmissions.  These vehicles are apparently hybrid vehicles that contain a problem with the engine control unit (ECU).  Under certain conditions, the ECU can cause the motor to move the vehicle in the opposite direction of the selected gear.  In other words, if the car is in drive, it can go backward.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Honda has announced recalls for the last two months in a row.  I’m already wondering if October will make three.  What’s the problem Honda?  I’ve asked this question before: How is it that with all the experience that car makers have had  building cars,  recall problems still occur?  The answer is that none of the automakers have a good grasp on the what it takes to make electronics and machines work together.

Vehicle Recalls

Ford’s done it again!  So has Honda and Chrysler, among others.  If  you haven’t already heard, Ford and Honda have each recalled over one million vehicles for various problems.  Chrysler isn’t doing as bad but, recalling over a quarter of a million vehicles is still a big problem (visit www.rjhill.com/news/ for details).  After hearing about the recalls I had to ask myself  “Why are all these recalls necessary?”  What happened to all the lessons in quality that car manufacturers were supposed  to have learned back in the 70s and 80s?  Vehicle recalls have been part of  our lives for so long that I wonder what we would do without them.  On the other hand, as long as Detroit keeps putting out cars with problems, I’ll keep investigating them.

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