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Takata Airbag Recall Gets Even Bigger: 12 Million More Cars Affected

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author photo by Doug DeMuro June 2016

Another day, another huge number of vehicles added to the Takata airbag recall -- now the largest recall in the history of the automobile industry. The latest expansion involves 12 million additional vehicles from Fiat Chrysler, Ferrari, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota, and adds to tens of millions of vehicles that are already part of the recall. So what exactly is going on? Is your vehicle affected? Here's what you need to know.

What Is the Recall All About?

The Takata recall is intended to address a manufacturing flaw that has already claimed 11 lives and caused upward of 100 injuries worldwide. All affected airbags were manufactured by Japanese firm Takata, whose airbags use a chemical that inflates them in an accident. Unfortunately, the chemical may deteriorate over time, leaving behind a canister that can explode into the cabin, potentially spraying shrapnel that could cause injuries or death.

Many automakers used airbags with inflators manufactured by Takata, so an enormous number of vehicles are affected by the recall. While some airbags used drying agents that will stop the chemical from deteriorating, many others did not use the agent. Airbags without the drying agent are affected by the recall, while airbags with the drying agent have not yet been recalled.

"Even assuming the airbags with drying agents don't ever have to be recalled -- I think it's likely those will eventually be recalled, too -- it's pretty clear every airbag without the drying agent will ultimately have to be recalled," said Karl Brauer, Kelley Blue Book's senior director of automotive industry insights. "As big as this recall has already become, it's likely going to get much bigger before it's done."

Is Your Vehicle Affected?

Right now, the Takata airbag recall is primarily focused on vehicles in areas with high heat and humidity such as the southeastern United States. It's also primarily focused on vehicles built in 2011 or earlier, since the chemical involved takes around 6 years to deteriorate.

Although it's difficult to list every single vehicle, affected automakers include Acura, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ferrari, Ford, GMC, Honda, Infiniti, Jeep, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mercury, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Pontiac, RAM, Saab, Saturn, Scion, Subaru, Toyota and Volkswagen. To check if your specific vehicle is affected, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Check for Recalls page and type in your car's VIN.

If your vehicle is affected, call your local dealership and schedule an appointment to bring it in for the recall -- a service that will be performed for free. Unfortunately for many customers outside the Southeastern U.S., parts for the recall may still be months away from arriving, so you may have to wait a while before your car can be fixed.

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Takata Airbag Recall Gets Even Bigger: 12 Million More Cars Affected - Autotrader