Japanese automakers Toyota and Honda are recalling 6 million vehicles to deal with two separate airbag issues, including some Takata airbags.
Toyota will fix 3.4 million vehicles around the world with ZF airbags that may not inflate due to the problem. The problem is part of a larger issue that could result in a recall of 12.3 million vehicles from six automakers in the U.S. The problems may be responsible for eight deaths in the U.S.
However, Honda has 2.7 million vehicles to repair that have Takata airbags. The airbags aren’t the same version responsible for at least 24 deaths worldwide, but they could explode in a similar manner, sending plastic and metal shrapnel into the vehicle cabin.
Honda’s been hit hard by the Takata recall during the past years, including more than a dozen deaths of vehicle owners in the U.S. In fact, the most recent Takata death involved an unidentified driver operating a 2002 Honda Civic involved in a crash near Phoenix in June 2018. Hundreds more people have been injured.
Ultimately, about 100 million airbags will have to be replaced worldwide, 70% of those in the United States. The exact number of vehicles involved is uncertain, as many use more than one of the faulty Takata airbags. But it is believed to be at least 50 million, according to various experts.
The Honda recall covers certain Honda and Acura vehicles from the 1996 to 2003 model years. The Honda vehicles included are the 1998 to 2000 Accord coupe and sedan, the 1996 to 2000 Civic coupe and sedan, the 1997 to 2001 CR-V, the 1998 to 2001 Odyssey and the 1997 and 1998 EV Plus.
Acura vehicles covered are the 1997 and 1998 2.2CL, the 1997 to 1999 3.0CL, the 1998 and 1999 2.3CL, the 2001 and 2002 3.2CL, the 2001 and 2002 MDX, the 1998 to 2003 3.5RL, and the 1999 to 2001 3.2TL.
Toyota’s recall centers on a faulty computer that may not have adequate protection against electrical noise that can happen in crashes. The problem can cause incomplete opening of the air bags, or they may not open at all. Devices that prepare seat belts for a collision also may not work.
In most cases Toyota dealers will install a noise filter between the air bag control computer and a wiring harness. But in some vehicles, dealers will inspect the computer to determine if it needs the filter. Owners will be notified by mid-March.
The recall covers certain 2011-2019 Corollas, the 2011 to 2013 Matrix, the 2012 through 2018 Avalon and the 2013 to 2018 Avalon Hybrid in the U.S.
Toyota wouldn’t say if it will offer loaner cars to people who fear their air bags might not protect them. A spokeswoman suggested that owners call its customer hotline to discuss their issue at (800) 333-4331.
In March of 2017, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating problems with ZF-TRW air bag computers. The probe was expanded in April of last year to 12.3 million vehicles made by Toyota, Honda, Kia, Hyundai, Mitsubishi and Fiat Chrysler from the 2010 through 2019 model years.