Recently bankrupt auto parts maker Takata is once against adding to its roster of potentially dangerous airbags, this time recalling 2.7 million airbag inflators that could explode violently despite containing a chemical meant to lessen the risk of the shrapnel-shooting ruptures.
The recall, which comes in addition to the 42 million inflators Takata previously recalled, covers airbag inflators made from 2005 to 2012 and used in certain Nissan, Mazda, and Ford vehicles.
The company did not specify which vehicles were affected by the recall.
According to a notice [PDF] posted with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the recall was necessitated after Takata determined that certain driver frontal air bag inflators that use calcium sulfate as a desiccant may rupture due to propellant degradation as a result to exposure to humidity.
The inflators, which were either originally used in the vehicles or used as replacements after a crash, differ from Takata’s previous recalls because they contain calcium sulfate, a chemical meant to be a drying agent.
Takata notes [PDF] that while it is unaware of any ruptured inflators that use a desiccant in vehicles on the road or in lab testing, analysis of the inflators show a pattern of propellant density reduction over time.
In other words, the chemical can break down over time, becoming less effective in preventing violent airbag inflator ruptures that have been linked to at least 12 deaths in the U.S.
In the event of an inflator rupture, metal fragments could pass through the airbag cushion material, which may result in injury or death to vehicle occupants.
“Based upon Takata’s investigation to date, the potential for such ruptures may occur in some of the subject inflators after several years of exposure to persistent conditions of high absolute humidity,” according to the NHTSA filings.
Takata says it will work with vehicle manufactures to determine which models are affected by the new recall. The company notes that various vehicle recalls will likely be announced by the impacted carmakers.