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Your airbag may be a ticking time bomb in your car.
Takata, the world's second largest supplier of airbags, has finally admitted that its airbags are defective. Here is what you need to know:
Takata has announced that the propellant that makes the airbags inflate could degrade over time when exposed to high humidity and frequent changes in temperature. The propellant is prone to "overaggressive combustion." The violent explosions when the airbags deploy can send shrapnel flying into the car's passenger compartment.
While the company has maintained that there was no defect until now, the airbag problems were evident as early as 15 years ago. As early as 2000, consumers filed complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding injuries caused by exploding airbags. A New York Times report claims that Takata tested and found defects in 2004, but hid results from regulators. The company denied those reports.
Back in 2008, Honda recalled over 500,000 cars with Takata airbags after a teenager was killed by shrapnel from the exploding airbags.
Overall, six people have died, and more than 100 have been injured by the defect.
As of right now, Takata and NHTSA do not have a complete list of all cars subject to the recall. According to estimates, at least 15 car brands and 60 different models may be affected. Reports claim that up to 52 million cars worldwide, are affected.
Prior to this recall, individual car makers have already issued their own recalls for airbag defects. Recently, Honda, Toyota, and Nissan expanded its airbag recall to cover 11.5 million cars worldwide. In addition to those three companies, Acura, BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Infiniti, Lexus, Mazda, Nissan, Pontiac, Saab, and Subaru have also issued Takata airbag recalls.
With so many cars requiring new airbags, Takata is having trouble making enough replacement airbags. So far, Takata has made nearly four million replacement airbags, and plans to have eight million more by the end of the year. Autoliv, the world's largest airbag manufacturer, also plans to make 25 million replacement airbags by then end of 2016.
Does your car have a defective airbag? You can use NHTSA's recall tool to search for recalls affecting your car. If you've been injured by your airbag, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to see if you have a claim for compensation.