Toyota and Lexus brands have issued a new safety recall on vehicles that were already called back because of issues with Takata airbags. The new problem? The replacement airbags, also made by Takata, use a propellant that might rupture the airbag, hurling shrapnel at drivers and passengers.
Approximately 65,000 vehicles in the United States are involved in the recall announced on Dec. 12, including Toyota Corolla (model years 2003-2005), Toyota Sequoia (model years 2002-2005), Toyota Tundra (model years 2003-2005), and Lexus SC430 (model years 2002-2005) vehicles.
These vehicles were subject to previous recalls during which Takata airbags with faulty inflators were replaced with a newer Takata non-desiccated ammonium nitrate inflator. However, ammonium nitrate is a propellent that can deteriorate and cause the airbag to rupture. So now, Toyota says that impacted consumers can contact Toyota dealers, which will replace the front passenger airbag inflator (or the airbag assembly) with one produced by a non-Takata supplier at no cost. Replacement parts are already available, and Toyota says consumers will begin receiving recall notifications for this latest callback in the mail starting in January 2019.
The ongoing recall has caused numerous automakers and brands, including Honda and Acura as well as Fiat Chrysler and Ford, to issue massive callbacks for millions of cars with the defective airbags installed and spend hundreds of millions in settlements. At least 23 people worldwide have been killed by exploding Takata airbags.
The Takata airbag recall is the largest ever in history, and Takata has sought the cover of bankruptcy protection. The recall on Takata’s defective airbag inflators is expected to force the recall of over 100 million vehicles by the end of 2019.
Correction, 12/13 5 p.m.: This story was updated to include that Takata airbags with faulty inflators had been replaced with a newer Takata non-desiccated ammonium nitrate inflator.