The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is urging owners of 313,000 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles with Takata airbags to stop driving their cars until the airbags are replaced. The airbag inflators in these vehicles are much more likely than other Takata airbag-equipped vehicles to rupture and cause injury or death, the agency said.
While the chance of rupture in most Takata airbag inflators is less than 1 percent, recent laboratory testing found that inflators in this specific group of vehicles have a 50-percent chance of rupturing, an NHTSA statement said. In all of the affected Takata airbag inflators, unstable propellant can cause an explosion that sends pieces of shrapnel into the cabin. This is more likely to occur in vehicles that have spent a significant amount of time in high humidity.
The high-risk models include: The 2001-2002 Honda Accord and Civic, 2002 Honda CR-V and Odyssey, 2003 Honda Pilot and Acura CL, and 2002-2003 Acura TL. Eight of the 10 confirmed U.S. fatalities from Takata airbag ruptures occurred in this group of vehicles, the NHTSA said. All were recalled between 2008 and 2011, and Honda says 70 percent were repaired. That still leaves 313,000 vehicles in need of recall repairs.
Read more: NHTSA more than doubles Takata airbag recall
While other models with Takata airbags are being more gradually recalled, the NHTSA is advising owners of these Honda and Acura models to park their cars immediately due to the elevated risk. The agency believes Honda (Acura is the carmaker’s luxury brand) has enough spare parts to fix all of the affected cars right now, and the company is expected to prioritize recall work on these models.
Owners should park their cars and contact their dealers to schedule the necessary repair work, which will be done at no charge. Those unsure whether their vehicles are affected can go to Safercar.gov and search using the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
The airbag inflators in the affected Honda and Acura models represent just a small fraction of the 70 million that must be addressed in what the NHTSA calls “the largest and most complex auto safety recall in U.S. history.” The recall won’t be completed until 2019 because replacement parts for every car are not yet available.