A year after recalling about 2.1 million vehicles due to a faulty airbag system, Toyota says it will “renotify” some owners that they need bring their vehicles back to dealers for repair work. Meanwhile, the maker plans to add another 650,000 vehicles to the list of those impacted by the airbag problem.
Toyota is one of a number of manufacturers affected by a defective airbag inflator system produced by Japanese supplier Takata. The list also includes Honda and Nissan. There have been a number of problems involving airbags in recent years, including systems that could cause shrapnel to inadvertently fire into the passenger compartment when the safety devices inflate.
The latest Toyota recall covers nearly two dozen models, including some Corolla sedans and Tundra pickups made in 2003 and 2004, as well as some Lexus SC 430 coupes produced between 2002 and 2004. The 650,000 vehicles being added to the list for the first time were all sold in Japan and were produced between 2000 and 2003.
In all, Toyota will now have recalled 2.8 million vehicles worldwide due to the airbag problem.
The cause is a faulty inflator – the device that is activated when vehicle sensors detect a collision, causing the front airbags to burst from their hiding place to provide a cushion that can reduce injuries. The Takata inflators, however, used improperly made propellants that may not inflate properly and could, in some situations, lead to a fire. Toyota said it has received one report of a burned seat cover caused by a faulty airbag deployment.
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The maker says the initial recall was based on an incomplete list of serial numbers provided by Japan-based Takata. But 380,000 of the vehicles covered by the initial recall were inspected but did not receive replacement inflators. Toyota now plans to complete the repairs on those vehicles.
The airbag recall was one of the reasons Toyota had more vehicles recalled in the U.S. than any other manufacturer in 2013. It led the recall list for five of the last six years. Currently, it is second among all makers operating in the States, behind General Motors. Hammered for its decade-late response to a deadly ignition switch problem, GM has been racing to address a variety of other safety issues and since just the beginning of 2014 has announced 32 recalls covering about 15 million vehicles sold in the U.S.
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Airbag issues have become one of the more significant sources of safety-related recalls in recent years, a variety of problems ranging from faulty inflators to defective sensors, as well as improper installation issues affecting a Who’s-Who of manufacturers since just the beginning of the decade.