Last week, a safety advisory from the NHTSA was released covering 2.12 million Acura MDX, Dodge Viper, Jeep Liberty, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Honda Odyssey, Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Corolla, Avalon and Matrix vehicles from model years 2002 to 2004.
The key issue in this recall is the electronic control unit that is responsible for deployment of the vehicles’ airbags. TRW, an auto parts manufacturer, supplied defective control units that caused airbags to deploy without provocation – in other words, they would randomly activate or had the potential to do so often causing severe injuries and, in some cases, crashes. Although this problem was at the center of recalls throughout 2012 to 2014, the fixes provided have not been sufficient.
Furthermore, about half of the 2.12 million vehicles with a defective control unit also contain the defective Takata airbags that were the focus of the NHTSA’s Fall 2014 recall. These airbags have defective inflators that can cause them to deploy with too much force and explode, sometimes even sending metal fragments into the passenger cabin. The fact that half of these vehicles contain both a defective airbag control unit and inflator makes it doubly important to assure appropriate repairs are made.
If your vehicle is on the recall list or if you are not certain if it is, please take the following steps:
- Go to www.SaferCar.gov and input your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to check if your vehicle is on the list of those affected.
- If it is listed, visit your local dealership. All of the affected automakers have stated that they will replace all of the control units, but securing parts will most likely take several months. In the meantime, though, your dealership can provide a temporary remedy. While it is not foolproof, it will significantly lessen the chances of your airbag randomly deploying.
- Be sure to keep an eye out in the mail for a notice when the permanent fix is available and bring in your vehicle to have the repairs performed.
- NHTSA is recommending that you not disconnect your airbags before repairs are performed. Airbags do save lives in crashes, and the chances of being involved in a crash where an airbag prevents serious injury to you or a passenger in your vehicle are greater than the chances of injury from inadvertent airbag deployment.
If you have any additional questions about this recall, or if you have been injured by faulty airbag deployment or defective airbags, feel free to call our office. We’re here to help.