Chrysler To Replace Takata Airbags in December

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Chrysler will begin replace the Takata-made airbags in 371,309 vehicles made from 2003 to 2008 in December. The recall was announced in June.

The airbag recalls continues to mushroom as Chrysler became the latest automaker to announce specifics of the recall of Takata-made airbags.

The automaker, which announced the recall last June, will begin replacing the airbags in effected vehicles next month. Beginning in December, the automaker will recall vehicles in the South, Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico, American Virgin Islands, Hawaii, Guam, Saipan, Guam and other high-humidity areas.

The reason the automaker is replacing the airbags in vehicles sold in high-humidity areas is because the propellant used to deploy the airbags, ammonium nitrate, deteriorates in dampness. The deterioration can cause unusually high pressures to build up in airbag inflator housings, causing the housings to burst, sending shards whipping through passenger compartments like shrapnel that cause serious injuries to passengers or drivers.

Takata’s testing program has not yet reached any firm conclusions about the cause of the flaw, though reports during the weekend indicated that the airbag manufacturer may have known about the problem as early as 2004. And, the same reports indicated that after it initiated its own secret internal review of the problem, it promptly deep-sixed it, according to the reports. The airbag manufacturer did not notify safety regulators.

The vehicles that Chrysler plans to recall next month include:

• 2005 – 2008 Chrysler 300
• 2007 – 2008 Chrysler Aspen
• 2003 – 2008 Dodge Ram 1500
• 2005 – 2008 Dodge Ram 2500
• 2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 3500
• 2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 4500
• 2008 Dodge Ram 5500
• 2005 – 2008 Dodge Durango
• 2005 – 2008 Dodge Dakota

To date, some 12 million vehicles have been recalled worldwide in response to this recall. For further information, check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website to determine if your vehicle has been recalled.

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Marc Stern has spent more than 40 years in and around cars. His work has included answering motorist questions, motor vehicle reviews and evaluation and writing dealers, consumer and industry news pieces. In addition, Mr. Stern has contributed to well-known automotive publications including Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek and Old Cars Weekly, among others.

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