Check your car; the NHTSA has more than doubled the Takata airbag recall

Car Airbags Deployed
The NHTSA has just added 35-40 million more to the airbag recall
The NHTSA just doubled down on what was already the biggest recall ever.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced an additional 35-40 million Takata airbag inflators are being recalled. This is in addition to the 28.8 million recalled in 2015 and earlier this year. If you own a vehicle in the U.S. built in 2002 or later, there’s a good chance it’s on the list.

The problem is with the airbag inflator, not the airbag itself. According to NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind, the ammonium nitrate explosive propellant in the inflators can degrade over time. As a result, when the airbag inflates, it can burn too quickly, explode with too much force, and send shrapnel through the airbag and into passengers. The propellant mixture does not have a drying agent or desiccant, which apparently could have prevented the problem. The passage of time, moisture, and high temperatures can contribute to the degradation. Earlier, it was thought that the problem was limited only to hotter, more humid states, but after more research and subsequent reports of problems, the recall was been extended nationwide.

There have been more than 10 deaths and at least 100 injuries due to the inflator problem, according to Consumer Reports. The NHSTA has issued the recall remedy in five stages, in decreasing threat levels. NHTSA’s Rosekind stated, “NHTSA’s aggressive actions in 2015 means this recall is already a year ahead of where it would have been if the agency had waited for this research. As a result, all of the most dangerous inflators responsible for the deaths and injuries are already under recall.”

The total number of recalls, now at 65-70 million inflators, does not mean that many cars and trucks. Many of the recalled vehicles have more than one inflator. Even if you cut the number in half, however, it’s still more than 30 million vehicles. As of April 22, a total of 8,168,860 recalled vehicles had been repaired.

You can check to see if your car or truck is part of the recall by going to the NHTSA SaferCar site. You can look up your vehicle by year, make, and model or, more specifically, by VIN number. I checked my 4Runner at the SaferCar site and found it was already subject to the earlier recall in February for side curtain airbags. I don’t know if it will be expanded to the front driver and passenger airbags, but will check back later to see.

You can’t just drive to a dealer and ask for the fix. As the recall goes out to manufacturers, they have to figure out how they’ll fix it and where to get the correct replacement parts. The notice on the recall for my car read, “Toyota is currently preparing the remedy. Toyota currently anticipates the remedy to be available in September, 2016. The remedy will consist of the replacement of the airbag control module.”

Since I live in North Carolina, a fairly hot state, I think I’ll leave the windows open when I park in the garag. Maybe that will prevent some heat buildup.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Did Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown fall victim to the Madden Curse?

Join us as we take a tour through the long-running history of the Madden Curse -- and Tom Brady's recent accolades. We all know John Madden is a longtime NFL talent, but is he also an agent of dark forces?

These Xbox One exclusives are the definition of quality over quantity

Xbox One has a prestigious collection of handpicked titles that you can't play on other consoles. Here are the latest and greatest Xbox One exclusives, including some that are also available on PC

Amazon plugs in with $700 million investment in electric pickup company Rivian

Amazon invested $700 million for a minority stake in U.S. all-electric truck maker Rivian, according to a joint release. The announcement follows a Reuters report that GM and Amazon might invest $1 billion to $2 billion in the company.

Mamma mia! Alfa Romeo will unveil a new model at the Geneva Auto Show

Alfa Romeo told Digital Trends it will unveil a new model at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. It stopped short of revealing what it has in store, but rumors claim it will be a crossover positioned below the Stelvio.

Citroën says you could drive its tiny Ami One electric car without a license

Citroën's Ami One concept car is an electric vehicle that's as cute as it is compact. The miniature motor only has a top speed of 28 mph, so the French automaker imagines it as a shareable runaround for short drives.

Arizona city slammed with $10M lawsuit over fatal Uber autonomous car accident

The family of Elaine Herzberg, the woman struck and killed by one of Uber's self-driving prototypes, has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city of Tempe, Arizona. They claim Herzberg jaywalked because she was confused by a brick…

Mercedes lets the sun shine in one last time with SLC Final Edition convertible

The Mercedes-Benz SLC convertible sports car is going out of production. Launched in 1996 as the SLK, the model has been a fixture in the Mercedes-Benz lineup across three generations.

Aston Martin’s next hypercar, due in 2021, will pack a hybrid powertrain punch

Aston Martin will follow up the Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro with a new hypercar, code-named Project 003. The car will debut in 2021, with production limited to 500 units worldwide.

Apple opens up about its self-driving car program in letter to NHTSA

Apple has traditionally kept details about its self-driving car technology under wraps, but it has revealed details about the program in a rare instance of openness. The company takes safety seriously.

Tesla will release fully self-driving cars in 2019 — with a big asterisk

Tesla reaffirmed its goal of releasing a fully self-driving car by the end of 2019, but it warned the system won't work perfectly 100 percent of the time. Convincing regulators that it's safe to use will require some effort, too.

Consumer Reports bumps the Tesla Model 3 off of its list of recommended models

The Tesla Model 3 is one of the six new cars that have lost their coveted Recommended rating from Consumer Reports over reliability concerns. In 2018, Model 3 owners reported body trim falling off and problems with the car's glass.

Lyft’s Shared Saver service offers cheaper rides, but you’ll have to walk a little

Lyft has launched a new ride option called Shared Saver that offers cheaper rides if you're willing to walk a little. Shared Saver designates a nearby pick-up point and drops you off a short distance from your final destination.

Has Apple rebooted its self-driving car program to develop autonomous vans?

The on-again, off-again Apple car is back on track, but it's not a sedan or a hatchback. It will arrive as an electric, autonomous passenger-carrying van, according to a recent report.