If you drive a Honda, then you need to know about this important vehicle recall. The carmaker is recalling millions of cars that were outfitted with airbags that were made by Takata, resulting in a record-setting auto recall, one of the biggest ever in America.
The defective airbags have already been linked to 13 deaths. The company that makes them has posted warnings to investors about declining sales and profits as its scrambles to find the resources necessary to replace them.
30 million units were already previously recalled. This month, Takata recalled another 21 million units.
The defect leaves drivers vulnerable to shrapnel - both metallic and plastic - that can shoot out of the inflator when deployed, resulting in serious injury or death.
In recent months, many the auto parts maker has been sued and probed by authorities for hiding flaws in its airbags over the past several years. Honda is not the only carmaker that's affected; large vehicle manufacturers like Toyota and Volkswagen have issued recalls as well
At suspect is the chemical that is used to help the bags inflate. In certain conditions of hot or humid weather, the chemical can become unstable. When this happens, it can cause the inflator canister to become defective, usually resulting in it rupturing.
The Honda airbag recall has eaten into the company's profits. The carmaker says that net profit has dropped by 32% since the recall was issued.
By comparison, Takata posted a massive net loss of $120 million as recalls continue to be issued.
"The science clearly shows that these inflators become unsafe over time, faster when exposed to humidity and variations of temperature," the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said last week.
In case you are curious if your car is on the recall list (and remember that this is not just confined to the Honda brand), you can easily find out by checking the VIN number of your vehicle at the NHTSA here: https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin.
If your car does require a replacement part, it will be installed at no extra cost to you. However, you will still have to bring it into your nearest dealership and let them correct the issue, which can be inconvenient.