The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the massive recall of Toyota, Fiat Chrysler and Honda older vehicles to fix defects that could cause airbags to deploy when the are not supposed to.
Affected vehicles include approximately 374,000 model year 2003-2004 Honda Odyssey and model year 2003 Acura MDX vehicles; approximately 750,000 model year 2002-2003 Jeep Liberty and 2002-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees; and about one million 2003-2004 Pontiac Vibe; Dodge Viper; and Toyota Corolla, Toyota Matrix, and Toyota Avalon vehicles.
The vehicles were previously subject to three other recalls to address a problem with an electronic component manufactured by TRW that caused some airbags to deploy absent the event of a crash.
The agency reports it has received 400 reported cases of inadvertent airbag deployments in the affected vehicles. Of those reported cases, 40 were in vehicles purportedly fixed under the previous recalls.
Officials with NHTSA say the incidents have caused minor injuries, but no known deaths.
“This is unfortunately a complicated issue for consumers, who may have to return to their dealer more than once,” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind, says in a statement. “But this is an urgent safety issue, and all consumers with vehicles covered by the previous recalls should have that remedy installed. Even though it’s a temporary solution until the new remedy is available, they and their families will be safer if they take the time to learn if their vehicle is covered and follow their manufacturers’ instructions. A hassle is much better than a family tragedy.”
The agency said the affected models had a part called an electronic control unit that controls deployment of its air bags. TRW Automotive Holdings, a parts manufacturer, supplied control units containing the same control circuit to all three automakers.
To fix the vehicles dealers will replace the entire airbag module, including circuits manufactured by TRW.
NHTSA blames the issue on “electrical noise” in the airbag system, saying a fully effective solution might not be available unit later this year.