Toyota Warns Customers, Recalls 50,000 Vehicles

( – Japanese automotive giant Toyota has issued a recall for roughly 50,000 of its older vehicles in the United States over fears that a defect in airbags in these models that were manufactured by Takata may cause injuries or fatalities when they inflate.

Specifically, Toyota says that the inflator inside the Takata airbags, when deployed, has a high likelihood of exploding and shooting sharp metal fragments at passengers. The defect is caused by the aging of the said part as it degrades due to prolonged exposure to the air bag’s chemical propellant, which in turn is adversely affected by the heat and humidity caused by long-time use.

The vehicles that the manufacturer says are covered by the recall are the Toyota Corolla and Toyota Matrix models, years 2003 to 2004; as well as its RAV-4 SUV models, years 2004 to 2005. The malfunction in the airbags can be for the driver’s side airbag or front passenger’s side airbag only. For certain Matrix and Corolla models, the malfunction is worse, as some vehicles’ airbags could deploy even when there is no crash.

The auto company says that the malfunction is extremely dangerous, leading it to issue an urgent “Do Not Drive” advisory for the said models. Toyota said that the repairs for vehicles covered by the recall will be completely free.

Defects in Taka airbags are reported to have caused hundreds of injuries and more than 30 fatal accidents globally, 26 of these deaths occurring in the U.S. More than 67 million Takata airbag inflators used in a variety of cars from different automakers have been recalled in America over the last ten years, with the number rising to more than 100 million inflators worldwide.

Due to the numerous lawsuits – plus a criminal investigation in the U.S. – it faced, Takata declared bankruptcy in 2017. Key Safety Systems, a Chinese firm, bought Takata’s assets.

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