Takata’s airbag recall expanded once again over the weekend with a recall announcement by Fiat Chrysler encompassing more than 100,000 older trucks and SUVs.
This latest recall includes mostly passenger-side airbags in certain 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango SUVs, 2010 Ram 3500 chassis cabs, and 2005-2009 Ram 2500 pickup trucks. Some of the driver’s-side airbags in these vehicles must also be replaced.
Tokyo-based Takata uses ammonium nitrate in its airbag inflators. The chemical creates a small explosion inside the inflator mechanism on impact, causing the airbag to inflate. The ammonium nitrate can degrade over time, however, becoming exceedingly volatile and prone to explode with lethal force. Aging ammonium nitrate is the reason why it is urgent for owners of older vehicles to have the Takata airbags replaced immediately.
Exploding Takata airbags can blast metal fragments at the vehicle’s occupants, potentially causing serious injury or death. In many cases, the airbags have blown up even in mild fender benders and minor collisions. So far the defect has been blamed for at least 16 deaths worldwide, including 11 in the U.S. The airbags have also caused nearly 200 injuries.
According to the Associated Press, Fiat Chrysler is not aware of any injuries resulting from exploding airbags in this group of recalled vehicles.
Fiat Chrysler said that owners will be receiving recall notices in the mail starting January 12. While Takata airbag replacements may extend into next year, replacement parts for these recalled units are available immediately.