5 Million Vehicles to be Recalled for Yet Another Airbag Defect

Defective inflators are not the only problem in airbags, it seems. Continental Automotive Systems has disclosed that moisture can enter the air bag control computers. The dampness can lead to corrosion and breakdown of the power supply, resulting in failure to inflate in a crash, or sudden deployment even if there is no crash. This airbag defect will cause the recall of about 5 million cars globally.

The above information, contained in documents that Continental filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA,) said that the car manufacturers will be advised, and a recall of cars made as far back as 2006 will begin. Honda, Fiat Chrysler, Mercedes Benz, and Volkswagen have already sent recalls. A few Mazda and Volvo Truck autos are included. Less than 2 million of these cars are in the US. Car owners need not spend for the replacement of their airbags as auto companies have said the conversion will be free of charge.

This recent discovery follows the disastrous issue of faulty Takata airbag inflators that explode during a crash, causing severe injuries to 139 people and 11 deaths so far worldwide. The airbags rupture with excess force, shredding a metal canister and sending shards into the car.

In its documents filed with NHTSA, Continental says it became aware of the fault in January 2008 while investigating an impaired control unit of a Mercedes. Then in 2011, two airbags in a Mercedes and a Fiat Chrysler accidentally deployed without a crash. More than 600 parts have been returned because of this problem. To date, more than 600,000 cars in the US have been voluntarily recalled by Honda, Fiat Chrysler, and Mercedes.

Investigation into non-inflating airbags began in August 2015 after NHTSA received 19 complaints from drivers. Many complainants had their computers replaced at a cost of $500. Concerns for their safety triggered most of the complaints.

A dashboard warning light turns on when the airbag control computer malfunctions. If this happens, car owners should go to a dealer for repair since parts won’t be available until fall, Honda says.

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