Mazda has announced that it will recall 79,402 of its older car and SUV models to replace defective Takata airbag inflators. According to news reports, the recall will cover certain 2007 through 2009 and 2012 Mazda CX-7 and CX-9 and Mazda 6 vehicles. The recall, some being done for the second time, is likely to vary by the state and age of the affected vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that the airbag inflators in these vehicles may potentially rupture during passenger side airbag deployment because the propellant in the inflator may degrade due to prolonged exposure to heat and humidity.
The Problem and Fix
Mazda says that this most recent recall will install permanent replacement airbag inflators that don’t use ammonium nitrate, a chemical that has been linked to the problem. More than 19 automakers have recalled around 70 million inflators just in the United States and 100 million vehicles globally. About a dozen deaths and scores of injuries have been reported in the U.S. as a result of these faulty airbag inflators. The first fatality was reported back in May 2009.
The faulty inflators could cause the airbag to deploy with significant force sending metal pieces flying through the vehicle compartment when deployed. The ammonium nitrate that ignites the airbag inflators could be damaged by moisture over time especially in humid climates, increasing the risk of an explosion. According to reports, Takata knew as early as in 2000 that certain ammonium nitrate-based inflators were not performing to required specifications. The company was also aware that some inflators had ruptured and failed during testing. Takata declared bankruptcy recently following the unprecedented recalls.
If You Have Been Affected
If your inflator is part of this recall, it is crucial that you get it replaced as soon as possible. To find out if your vehicle is part of the recall, visit NHTSA’s safercar.gov website and enter your 17-digit vehicle identification number. Allow a few days for the models in the most recent recall to show up in the database. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of Takata airbag defects, you may be eligible to receive compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced auto defect lawyer will be able to advise you regarding your legal rights and options.