In late June 2018, Mazda announced it was recalling nearly 700 vehicles because of a manufacturing problem. In these vehicles, there is a risk the airbag won’t deploy properly in an accident, which could put occupant safety at risk.
Manufacturing Issue Affects Proper Deployment of Airbags
According to media reports on the recall, some of the vehicles may have side curtain airbags that because of a manufacturing error, might not inflate correctly in a crash. This could increase the risk of injury to passengers, particularly if they are involved in a rollover crash.
So far, Mazda has received no reports of accidents or injury related to this issue. At this time, Mazda had not announced how they are going to address the matter, but they should be contacting customers soon with instructions.
To see if your vehicle may be affected by this recall, you can visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) website and enter your VIN. You can also check your VIN at the Mazda recall site.
Mazda One of Many Automakers Affected by Takata Airbag Recalls
This isn’t the first issue Mazda has had with its airbags. Like other automakers, it has recalled thousands of Takata airbags because of a defect that could cause them to explode upon deployment. These airbags contain an airbag inflator fuel called “ammonium nitrate” that with age and exposure to high temperatures and humidities, can become unstable. If the chemical becomes unstable, it can cause an airbag to explode, sending tiny pieces of metal and shrapnel into the interior of the vehicle. Such explosions can cause serious injuries and/or death in drivers and other occupants.
In mid-2017, Mazda, along with Toyota, Subaru, and BMW, agreed to provide about $553 million to fund consumer outreach, reimbursements, and rental car/loaner programs to help compensate owners affected by Takata airbag recalls, and to help get the vehicles fixed.
Mazda Replaces “Temporary” Airbag Inflators with Those Considered to be Safer
Many automakers, including Mazda, had to replace defective Takata airbags with similar airbags made with the same unstable fuel simply because there were not enough improved airbag inflators available. New ammonium nitrate airbags are safer than old ones, as it takes time for the fuel to destabilize. In July 2017, Mazda issued a new recall advising consumers to bring back about 200,000 vehicles that were installed with “temporary” airbag inflators, so that those inflators could be replaced with newer ones that use a different propellant. About a month later, they recalled another about 80,000 vehicles for the same reason.
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