By now, you would be familiar with the Takata airbag recall issue – the Japanese parts maker’s airbags have been the focus of a series of massive recalls since 2008, involving over 17 million vehicles worldwide, according to Reuters.
The recalls involve improperly-manufactured airbag inflators – in a crash, the inflator could rupture and cause, in extreme cases, metal shards from the airbag casing to be sprayed at the occupants, potentially maiming or killing them.
The flawed part has been linked to at least four deaths in the US and a considerable number of injuries. Initially, the component in question was the front passenger airbag inflator, but lately it has emerged that a Malaysian, travelling in a 2003 Honda City that contained a defective airbag, was killed in a collision in July, and it was the driver’s airbag inflator that ruptured, sending shrapnel flying inside the car.
The Malaysian incident is not only the first related death outside the US, but also the first to involve the driver’s airbag.
Reports suggest that the root cause of the problem is the airbag propellant, the substance that is ignited and burns extremely quickly to create a huge volume of gas to inflate the bag. Exposure to moisture – prevalent in humid climates like ours – can cause the propellants to become unstable, detonating with excessive force during a collision.
Reuters reports that Takata has changed the chemical composition of its airbag propellant, although ammonium nitrate – considered volatile – is still in the mix. Competitors Autoliv and TRW Automotive are reported to use less-volatile guanidine nitrate as the main ingredient.
While Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, BMW, Chrysler and General Motors have all issued worldwide recalls relating to this, only Toyota, Honda and Nissan have so far officially called back vehicles for airbag issues in Malaysia.
If you own any of the cars in the list below, it is absolutely vital that you send them in to be checked as soon as possible.
UMW Toyota (April 2013) – approx 18,700 units involved, affected models:
- 2000-2003 Toyota Corolla Altis
- 2000-2003 Toyota Camry
Call 1-800-88-69682 for more information.
Lines are open 8.00 am to 5.30 pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays).
Edaran Tan Chong Motor (April 2013) – four units involved, affected model:
- CBU (fully-imported) first-gen Nissan X-Trail
Call 1-800-88-3838 for more information.
Lines are open 24 hours, seven days a week.
Honda Malaysia (June 2014) – number of units involved not disclosed, affected models:
- 2001-2003 Honda Stream
- 2002-2003 Honda Jazz
- 2003 Honda City
- 2003 Honda Accord
Call 1-800-88-2020 for more information.
Lines are open 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays).
Honda Malaysia (November 2014) – 15,734 units involved, affected models:
- 2003-2004 Honda City (15,612 units)
- 2004 Honda Jazz (122 units)