Yesterday, while many of you were gearing up for the big game, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was rolling out a massive series of recalls affecting more than two million Acura, Dodge, Honda, Jeep, Pontiac, and Toyota owners in the U.S. The problem? An electrical glitch can deploy the vehicles' airbags with no warning.
As NHTSA explains, "Due to electrical noise, a component in the air bag control module may fail, causing the front air bags, side air bags, and/or seatbelt pretensioners to deploy inadvertently while the vehicle is being operated." Should that happen in traffic, it could dramatically increase the likelihood of an accident, injury, and/or death. The faulty component was manufactured by TRW Automotive, based in Livonia, Michigan.
The recall affects 2.1 million vehicles from six different auto brands. Makes and models included in the recall are:
- 2003 Acura MDX vehicles built between February 21, 2002 and September 23, 2003
- 2003-2004 Dodge Viper vehicles built between November 1, 2001 and June 30, 2004
- 2003-2004 Honda Odyssey vehicles built between February 13, 2002 and August 13, 2004
- 2002-2004 Jeep Cherokee vehicles built between February 13, 2001 and May 23 2003
- 2002-2003 Jeep Liberty vehicles built between January 9, 2001 and March 28, 2003
- 2003-2004 Pontiac Vibe vehicles built between January 18, 2002 and April 27, 2004
- 2003-2004 Toyota Avalon vehicles built between June 5, 2002 and December 20, 2004
- 2003-2004 Toyota Corolla vehicles built between December 28, 2001 and May 2, 2004
- 2003-2004 Toyota Corolla Matrix vehicles built between January 6, 2002 and April 29, 2004
Unfortunately, these vehicles were already recalled in 2013 for exactly the same issue, but the repair proposed by automakers failed to fix the problem. As a result, owners have to make yet another trip to the dealership.
Worse, the parts needed to resolve the issue once and for all (we hope) aren't available yet. However, NHTSA says that the repair instituted in the previous recall does reduce the chances for the safety devices to deploy inadvertently, so if you haven't already had your vehicle fixed from the initial recall, you should do so immediately.
New recall notices are expected to hit the mail by late March, though those will just be interim notices to remind owners that their vehicles have been re-recalled. Final recall notices will be sent out in the last half of 2015, when repair parts finally become available.
If you own one of the vehicles listed above and have questions -- and you probably do -- you're encouraged to contact the appropriate customer service department:
- Acura: 800-999-1009
- Dodge: 800-853-1403
- Honda: 800-999-1009
- Jeep: 800-853-1403
- Pontiac: 800-620-7668
- Toyota: 800-331-4331
Alternately, you can call NHTSA at 888-327-4236 and ask about safety campaign #15V043000 (Pontiac and Toyota), #15V045000 (Acura and Honda), or #15V046000 (Dodge and Jeep).