Almost 29 million cars have already been recalled after inflator ruptures killed 10 people in the United States, and injured at least 100 more.
Millions of the cars recalled to replace air bags that explode and spray deadly shards of metal may not be fully protected unless the potentially dangerous inflators are replaced twice, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA states that an additional 85 million vehicles could face air bag recalls unless the manufacturer can prove they are safe.
The air bags manufactured by Takata, the world’s largest maker of airbags, uses ammonium nitrate to trigger an explosion that inflates the air bag when the vehicle strikes an object. In some vehicles, mostly those several years old and kept in areas with high humidity, the ammonium nitrate burns too fast and causes the chemical’s container to explode and spray vehicle occupants with metal shrapnel.
Many Takata replacement air bags still use the ammonium nitrate that is suspected to cause the explosive malfunctions. Testing has proved that the chemical deteriorates over time. NHTSA also states that the inflators being installed in recalled vehicles may themselves become defective, evidence suggests that the inflatora will perform for several years.