Update: NHTSA Demands Recall on 52 Million Defective Airbag Inflators
The NHTSA announced on September 5, 2023, that 52 million airbag inflators manufactured by ARC Automotive and Delphi Automotive should be recalled because they may rupture and eject metal fragments into the vehicle's cabin, according to Reuters [2.].
The potentially defective airbag inflators were installed in vehicles from model years 2000 through 2018 produced by 12 automakers, including BMW, General Motors, Ford Motor, Stellantis, Tesla, Toyota Motor, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen.
"Air bag inflators that rupture when commanded to deploy are plainly defective, as they both fail to protect vehicle occupants as they should, and, themselves, pose an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death," NHTSA said.
What's the Problem?
The NHTSA warning [1.] affects BMW vehicles from model years 2000-2006 which had previously been recalled to replace defective airbag inflators made by Takata.
Takata used volatile ammonium nitrate to inflate the airbags during a crash; however, the chemical has been found to break down over time in hot and humid conditions and blow apart a metal canister, ejecting shrapnel into the cabin that can injure or even kill the vehicle's occupants.
To date, dozens of deaths and more than 400 injuries have been linked to defective airbags in the U.S. alone.
Related Article: Malfunctioned Airbags Recall Lawsuit Update
Which Vehicles Are Involved in the BMW Airbag Recall?
Models affected by the BMW airbag recall include the:
- 2000-2006 BMW 3 Series
- 2000-2003 BMW 5 Series
- 2000-2004 BMW X5
All have driver's front airbag inflators made by Takata. You can check to see if your BMW is affected by an airbag recall by clicking this link [2.]
For comprehensive and up-to-date information regarding the latest BMW recalls and lawsuits, we invite you to explore Schmidt & Clark's website.
Takata Airbag Recall Information
In total, vehicles made by 19 different manufacturers have been recalled to replace Takata airbags in what the NHTSA has called “the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history.” The devices were mainly installed in vehicles from model years 2002-2015. At least 67 million airbags have been recalled to date, and by the end of 2022, 11 million had not yet been replaced.
Related Article: Malfunctioned Airbags Recall Lawsuit Update
BMW Issues 'Do Not Drive' Warning Over Recalled Takata Airbags: GMA News Video
How Different Areas are Affected
The ammonium nitrate in the recalled airbags has the potential to deteriorate over time. Temperature, humidity, and the age of the vehicle affect how quickly this breakdown occurs. Therefore, older vehicles and hotter, more humid areas are more likely to experience Takata airbag failure.
- States in Zone A are given top priority - unsafe propellant degradation may occur between 6 - 9 years. Zone A includes California, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida.
- States in Zone B are given second priority - unsafe propellant degradation may occur between 10 - 15 years. Zone B includes Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
- States in Zone C are given final priority - unsafe propellant degradation may occur between 15 - 20 years. Zone C includes Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine.
The NHTSA is recommending that owners of the affected BMWs park their vehicles and contact their local BMW dealership for additional information. Repairs are available at no cost, as well as mobile repair and free towing.
"These vehicles are 17 to 22 years old, and the risk to vehicle occupants is dire," NHTSA said. "These are some of the oldest Takata air bags under recall and have an extremely high probability of failure during a crash."
The agency said that if the Takata airbag inflators explode, metal debris could be ejected into the driver's face and could kill them or cause "devastating, life-altering injuries."
Previous BMW Airbag Recalls
In addition to the latest recall, BMW has previously called back many different model vehicles over defective Takata airbags, including:
- 2008-2013 BMW 1 Series
- 2000-2013 BMW 3 Series
- 2001-2003 BMW 5 Series
- 2013-2015 BMW X1
- 2007-2010 BMW X3
- 2001-2003, 2007-2013 BMW X5
- 2008-2014 BMW X6
- 2010-2011 BMW X6 Hybrid
Takata Airbag Recall Failures
The millions of vehicles still left unrepaired highlight failures of the Takata airbag recall system which include automakers’ significant delays in announcing the recalls, the company's use of outdated owner info, and the lack of or delayed replacement part availability.
The NHTSA has admonished many of the automakers -- including BMW -- for not taking enough action to make sure airbags are replaced. In May 2018, the agency sent a letter to 12 auto manufacturers warning them that they had not met the deadline for completing repairs in high-risk parts of the United States.
Then in July 2018, the NHTSA advised all automakers involved in the recalls to make public their plans for replacing all faulty Takata airbags and to be proactive in order to reach at-risk owners who may not have received their recall information.
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Get a Free BMW Airbag Recall Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers
The Products Liability Litigation Group at Schmidt & Clark, LLP law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in BMW Airbag Recall Lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new injury and death cases in all 50 states.
If you or a loved one was injured by an exploding BMW airbag, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.