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Toyota, Lexus recall 65,000 cars to replace Takata airbag parts permanently

Previously, these vehicles had faulty Takata parts replaced with working Takata parts.

Remember the Lexus SC? 

Some Toyota and Lexus owners will soon breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that there won't be Takata-made airbag inflators in their vehicles anymore, whether or not they're faulty.

Toyota announced this week that it is recalling approximately 60,000 examples of the 2003-2005 Toyota Corolla, 2002-2005 Toyota Sequoia, 2003-2005 Toyota Tundra and 2002-2005 Lexus SC. These vehicles were previously recalled for containing faulty Takata airbag inflators, which at the time were replaced with functioning Takata parts.

Now, this second recall will replace those newer Takata parts with inflators sourced from non-Takata suppliers. Because tens of millions of airbag inflators were being recalled across the industry, permanent replacement parts were hard to come by for a while, which meant some automakers had to offer stopgap replacements.

Originally, according to NHTSA's schedule for replacement, this recall was supposed to happen in December 2019. Toyota advanced the recall by a year, however, which should give owners a little more peace of mind regarding their airbags. Owners will receive notifications via first-class mail starting in early January.

The Takata scandal started because the supplier tried to save money by removing a moisture-absorbing desiccant from its airbag inflators, which are the parts responsible for quickly inflating the airbag in a crash. If exposed to moisture or high temperatures, the undessicated inflators could fail, shooting shrapnel into the cabin instead of inflating the airbag. More than a dozen fatalities have been linked to the faulty parts, which number in the tens of millions across the US. Automakers and the federal government have since made considerable efforts to get these parts replaced in every vehicle.