Takata airbag recall rears its ugly head again, this time for 10M cars

The cars being recalled this time were among the first recalled initially and repaired with also-faulty parts.

Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt
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Takata may be gone, but its airbag recall keeps on keeping on.

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The Takata airbag recall has been going on for seven years, and just when we thought it was pretty much taken care of, there's a new round of recalls for 10 million vehicles -- and here's the kicker: they had already supposedly been recalled and repaired.

This new round of recalls, announced Wednesday, affects US-market vehicles from BMW, , and , among others. The problem with these already-repaired vehicles is that during the early stages of the recall, Takata replaced dangerous old inflators with new ones of the exact same design and chemistry.

FCA representatives are stating that, while a total of around 50,000 vehicles were affected since the first rounds of this particular recall went out in 2015, there are no new VIN numbers being added to the list. Meanwhile, Honda's representatives say the company's been working on this particular recall since June of 2019, six months before the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decision.

According to a report Wednesday by Automotive News, Takata believed that since the problem with the inflators was exacerbated by time, temperature and humidity, replacing the inflators with new ones was the best way forward. It wasn't.

Eventually, Takata reformulated the inflator's explosive propellant, adding a drying compound that helps to preserve the unit for much longer. That's what's now being installed in many cars, even though Takata went out of business and was purchased by a Chinese company in 2018. Some companies have opted to go a different way entirely, sourcing airbag inflators from different companies that had nothing to do with Takata.

According to the NHTSA, more than 38 million vehicles have been repaired in the seven years since the recalls started. It also estimates that there were nearly 13 million still-defective parts installed in vehicles as of November 2019.

If that last figure doesn't give you pause, then you're probably one of the people still driving around in a defective vehicle. Please, if you've received a recall repair notice, make the time to get your car fixed. It won't cost you anything, and it could very well save your and your passengers' lives.

BMW didn't immediately respond to Roadshow's request for comment.

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Originally published Jan. 8, 12:33 p.m. PT.

Update, 2:45 p.m.: Adds comment from Honda.