Toyota announced it is recalling over 65,000 models of its older vehicles due to a safety issue with airbag inflators they were already recalled and replaced with.
Toyota models of its 2003-2005 Corolla, 2002-2005 Sequoia, 2003-2005 Tundra and 2002-2005 Lexus SC were recalled. These models were subjected to an earlier recall for the front passenger airbag inflators. They were replaced with new airbags, manufactured by Takata Corporation.
However, the new, non-desiccated airbag inflators made by Takata were found to degrade over time after being exposed to prolonged humidity and various temperature cycling. This compromises the chemical propellant that activates airbag inflation.
The activation of these inflators can result in airbag inflator rupture with shrapnel. This means that metal fragments may pass through a deployed airbag, directly towards the driver or passenger, resulting in significant injury or death.
The Takata airbags were made with ammonium nitrate. The exposure to fluctuating temperatures has a negative effect on the chemical which causes them to deploy fragments. At least 15 people in the United States have died, while over 250 people have been injured in incidents due to these defective products.
This recent recall is one of the United States’ largest to date, affecting 37 million vehicles and nearly all automakers. Over 50 million airbag inflators from 19 manufacturers are under recall, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Toyota opted to replace the front passenger airbag inflator, or the entire airbag assembly, with a new one assembled by a company that is not Takata. It will not include the ammonium nitrate, as that is the culprit of the safety issue. The recall is expected to begin in early January 2019.
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If you or somebody you know was injured by a Takata airbag inflator in your Toyota vehicle, you may want to speak with the lawyers at Johnson//Becker. We are currently accepting new Toyota airbag recall lawsuits across the country, and you may be entitled to financial compensation.
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