Takata's inflators use a chemical called ammonium nitrate to inflate the airbag during a crash. The ammonium nitrate can become unstable when exposed to temperature fluctuations or high humidity, causing the inflators to explode with an unexpected amount of force. How much force? Enough to rupture the metal cannister during a deployment and spray sharp fragments out into the cabin during a crash.
Accornding to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), at least 15 drivers have been killed and 250 people injured by an exploding Takata inflator.
Certain 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles have been labeled as having a “high risk” of airbag inflator ruptures. In late June, 2016, NHTSA urged owners of these cars to stop driving immediately.
"With as high as a 50 percent chance of a dangerous air bag inflator rupture in a crash, these vehicles are unsafe and need to be repaired immediately,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Folks should not drive these vehicles unless they are going straight to a dealer to have them repaired immediately, free of charge."
It's important to note: the vehicles in question have already been recalled between 2008 and 2011. According to NHTSA's data, however, only 70% received repairs. That leaves 313,000 vehicles that need critical repairs immediately. If you own one of the following cars:
Visit SaferCar.gov to check whether their vehicle has any outstanding safety recalls.
Call your nearest dealer and schedule a no-cost, immediate repair.
Full List of Acura Vehicles with Recalled Takata Inflators ∞
Given the scope of these recalls, NHTSA decided to spread out the recalls to get replacements to owners in the highest-risk regions or zones first. The last wave of inflator-related recalls is expected to begin in early 2020.
A zone is a group of states and territories where a vehicle was originally sold or registered at some point in time.
Zone A: Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan) and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Zone B: Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
Zone C: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Owners of these vehicles are urged to call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or visit this site for more information.
"Consumers that are uncertain whether their vehicle is impacted by the Takata recalls, or any other recall, can contact their manufacturer’s website to search, by their vehicle identification number (VIN) to confirm whether their individual vehicle has an open recall that needs to be addressed."
This problem has popped up in the following Acura generations.
Most years within a generation share the same parts and manufacturing process. You can also expect them to share the same problems. So while it may not be a problem in every year yet, it's worth looking out for.