This week saw the latest expansion of airbag recalls that began 18 months ago from Japanese supplier Takata Corp. and is now linked to at least four deaths. As of today, the recall affects some 7.8 million vehicles in the U.S. from 10 automakers based in three continents. The bulk of them — 5 million — are from Honda. Takata issued a statement earlier this year that noted the incidents of airbag malfunction — where a faulty inflator can send metal and plastic shrapnel into occupants if the front passenger airbag deploys in a crash — have occurred in warm areas like Florida and Puerto Rico, and it suspects that high humidity plays a role in the problem. Returned airbags from Toyota confirmed as much, USA Today reports.
USA Today reports most owners should have already received recall notices by now, and some automakers — namely, Toyota and BMW — have advised keeping the front passenger seat clear of occupants until a dealer inspects the car for a faulty inflator and, if there is one, replaces it.
What cars have been recalled? And what should you do if you get a notice? We’ve compiled everything we know so far below:
The latest list of recalled cars affects BMW, Chrysler (including Dodge), Ford, GM (including Pontiac and Saab), Honda (including Acura), Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan (including Infiniti), Subaru and Toyota (including Lexus). Affected model years span 2000 to 2011. Here’s the full list.
How did this all start? We put together a timeline.
- April 2013: Takata’s airbag recalls take center stage when four Japanese automakers — Toyota, Honda, Mazda and Nissan — recall more than 1 million U.S. cars.
- June 2014: Toyota expands the 2013 recall, which originally included 766,300 cars, because the “involved serial numbers provided by the supplier were incomplete.” Today, Toyota’s airbag-recall total amounts to 877,000 cars.
- June 2014: Less than two weeks after Toyota’s expansion, Honda, Mazda and Nissan expand their airbag recalls by more than a million additional cars. BMW, Chrysler and Ford announce their own recalls immediately thereafter, all for the same Takata airbags. Toyota reportedly advises overseas owners to avoid having passengers ride in the front seat, but it doesn’t expand the warning to U.S. owners until October.
- July 2014: Subaru announces an airbag recall for some 8,600 cars.
- August 2014: Subaru expands the recall. Today it’s recalled about 17,500 cars over Takata’s airbags.
- Oct. 20, 2014: Toyota expands the recall, and a few GM cars join, too. Toyota advises occupants to avoid the front passenger seat until the car has been inspected.
- Oct. 21, 2014: Congressional investigators request an explanation from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding the latest airbag-recall expansion.
- Oct. 22, 2014: NHTSA revises the list of recalled vehicles by a massive 3.1 million vehicles because its “October 20 advisory did not include the full universe of affected vehicles, and incorrectly included certain vehicles,” the agency said in an emailed statement.
- Oct. 22, 2014: NHTSA’s online search tool for recalls goes down. It’s still down as of this writing. In the same statement, NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman says the agency “greatly regret[s] that the information provided in our initial safety advisory was inaccurate and that we have experienced significant problems with our website.”
- Oct. 22, 2014: NHTSA issues a public statement urging owners to act swiftly when they receive recall notices, especially for those in the high-humidity Gulf States and various islands.
In all likelihood, this isn’t the end. Stay tuned for more details as we continue to cover this, and check out a thorough Q&A for drivers with recalled cars from our friends at USA Today.
Cars.com photo by Ian Merritt