When it comes to airbag recalls, we’re still not out of the woods yet. And in fact, it seems like a whole ‘nother forest may have just been dropped on top of us. Most companies strive to become household names for positive reasons, but Takata and its airbags have cemented themselves into the public consciousness for all the wrong ones. If your car hasn’t been among the tens of millions recalled over problematic airbag inflators, you should count your blessings. You’re one of the lonely, lucky few.
But today we have a totally different airbag recall to talk about — one that affects an entirely different company that we’ve never actually heard of before. For their sake, and all the vehicles owners whose vehicles will be affected, let’s hope this recall stays small. We’ll start with them first.
Toyota just can’t catch a break. They might be the automaker doing the recall, but they’re not the ones whose component is under investigation. This latest recall of 2.9 million vehicles sounds like the tip of a whole other iceberg.
The airbag recall we’ve become all too familiar with concerns airbags exploding upon deployment. In the case of company ZF-TRW, the danger is the airbags not deploying at all. The culprit is in a computer that controls the airbag’s inflation. Electrical interference may prevent the computer from signaling during a crash that it’s time for the airbag to deploy.
Regulators at the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration have been investigating the issue since 2017, with the investigation currently involving Toyota, Kia, Hyundai, Fiat Chrysler, Honda, and Mitsubishi, and affecting up to 12.3 million vehicles.
Kia, Hyundai, and Fiat Chrysler have already issued recalls of their own, with Toyota now joining them after two serious crashes occurred without airbag deployment, contributing to the death of one person. It’s also been reported that four deaths occurred in Hyundai-Kia vehicles, and three deaths in Fiat-Chryslers, bringing the total amount of people believed to have been killed to at least 8.
Here’s the full recall details from NHTSA:
Description: Air Bags/Seat Belt Pretensioners may not Deploy. In the event of a crash, air bags and/or seat belt pretensioners that do not deploy as intended may increase the risk of injury.
NHTSA Campaign Number: 20V024000
Manufacturer: Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing
Component(s): Air bags
Potential Number of Units Affected: 2,891,976
Summary: Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (Toyota) is recalling certain 2011-2019 Corolla, 2011-2013 Matrix, 2012-2018 Avalon, and 2013-2018 Avalon Hybrid vehicles. During certain crashes, the airbag electronic control unit (ECU) may malfunction, possibly disabling the deployment of the air bags and/or seat belt pretensioners.
Remedy: Toyota will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the ECU and install a noise filter between the airbag control module and its wire harness, as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin March 17, 2020. Owners may contact Toyota customer service at 1-888-270-9371. Toyota’s numbers for this recall are 20TB03 and 20TA03.
Notes: Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
If you believe your vehicle might be affected by this recall, or if you want to see if your vehicle is subject to any other recalls, NHTSA has a way for you to do just that. All you have to do is enter your VIN on this page.
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Check Out These References for Further Reading:
“Toyota Recalls 2.9 Million Cars for Faulty Airbag Sensor.” Consumer Reports. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
“Safety Issues & Recalls.” NHTSA. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
“Toyota and Honda recall 6 million vehicles over airbag dangers.” The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 February 2020.