NHTSA Recalls 2.1 Million Cars Over Defective Airbags
On January 31, 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a recall for 2.1 million cars due to defective electronic control units in airbags, which could cause airbags to deploy unintentionally. The recall includes the following models of vehicles: 2002-2003 Jeep Liberty, 2002-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 2003-2004 Honda Odyssey, 2003 Acura MDX, 2003-2004 Pontiac Vibe, Dodge Viper, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Matrix, and Toyota Avalon.
The defective electronic control devices were manufactured by TRW Automotive Holdings and have caused over 400 unintentional airbag deployments, causing some injuries. Recalls were issued over these devices in 2012, 2013, and 2014, but some vehicles still had their airbags deploy unintentionally despite having the repair made. It is not yet known when the new repair will be available, but the NHTSA said it could potentially take several months for companies to have enough parts needed to make the repairs. If your car has not yet been repaired under the previous recalls, it is still recommended to have the older repair made because it will significantly reduce the risk of your airbags deploying inadvertently.
Although this recall includes many vehicles previously recalled because of defective air bag inflators manufactured by Takata, the recall over the TRW electronic control units is a separate recall and is not directly related to the Takata recall. Approximately 1.2 million of the cars impacted by the TRW recall were also part of the Takata recalls. If your car was part of the previous Takata recall and you had the issue repaired, it is still advisable to bring your car back in for the new TRW repair. 39 of the reported unintentional airbag deployments happened in vehicles that had already been repaired under the Takata recall.
If your car is part of the TRW recall, it is not recommended you disable your airbags while you wait for the repair to become available. According to the NHTSA, the odds of being in a car accident where your life could be saved by an airbag are far greater than having your airbag randomly deploy because of defective parts.
Owners of recalled cars should be receiving a recall notice in the mail in the near future. If you think your car might be part of the recall but don’t get a notice in the mail, Safercar.gov has a tool that will let you see if any recalls have been issued for your car within the past 15 years by entering your car’s VIN number. Your VIN is a 17-character combination of numbers and letters and can be found on a small plate located inside the front windshield, on your car’s registration, or on your proof of insurance card. You can also contact your local dealership and they will be able to help you find out if your car has been recalled. If you have any questions about the recall, you can call the NHTSA at 1-800-424-9153.