Car Industry

Takata to recall 2.7M more airbag inflators, this time with desiccants

These units even pack the moisture-absorbing material that should have prevented improper inflation.

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Takata's airbag scandal affects hundreds of millions of parts across millions of vehicles worldwide. So what's the harm in tossing another 2.7 million airbag inflators into the mix?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Tuesday that Takata would recall approximately 2.7 million airbag inflators after determining that they may rupture during inflation after being exposed to "moderate absolute humidity, temperatures and temperature cycling."

Shrapnel from a defective Takata unit

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Those 2.7 million inflators are currently in cars made by Ford, Nissan and Mazda. Takata did not say which specific models the inflators are in, and the supplier did not immediately return a request for comment.

The original recall that sparked this scandal came about because the airbag inflators lacked a moisture-reducing agent called a desiccant, which was an intentional cost-cutting measure from Takata. When exposed to humidity, the airbag inflator could rupture and send shrapnel, instead of an airbag, into the cabin.

That sounds pretty similar to this new recall, but the new batch of 2.7 million inflators actually does contain a desiccant -- calcium sulfate, specifically. Thus, the material specifically engineered to absorb moisture and prevent rupture completely failed at its task. To date, 17 people have died and 180 have been injured as a result of the defective components.

In June, Takata filed for bankruptcy protection in the wake of its airbag inflator scandal. Key Safety Systems, a supplier based out of Michigan, will assume all assets not related to Takata's ammonium-nitrate inflators for $1.588 billion.