An exploding airbag incident has recently triggered another auto safety investigation, potentially affecting millions of cars. ARC Automotive Inc. is under investigation after a woman was killed by an exploding ARC inflator. The ARC inflator ruptured and sent metal shrapnel into the passenger cabin, killing the Canadian woman earlier this month. The woman was driving a 2009 Hyundai Elantra.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been investigating ARC inflators since last year, when an Ohio woman was injured by an exploding ARC inflator while driving her 2002 Chrysler Town & Country minivan. The recent ARC-related death has triggered the upgrade of the investigation to an engineering analysis. Since then, there have been other reports of past ARC inflator explosions.
The cause of the ARC brand exploding airbags is not linked to the 69 million inflator recall of Takata Corp. The Takata airbag explosion was triggered by use of ammonium nitrate, a chemical that inflates the bag upon impact. These airbags lacked the drying agent that prevents moisture from building, causing an explosion.
Although the NHTSA is still investigating the ARC inflators in the U.S., it estimates there to be 8 million affected cars, including older vehicles by General Motors, Fiat, Chrysler, Hyundai, and Kia. ARC Automotive Inc. is cooperating with the investigation. Check to see if your vehicle is affected at http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/subscriptions/
According to the Canadian Safety Agency, drivers will be notified as soon as a safety defect is identified.
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