NHTSA Asks for Air Bag Checks in High-Humidity

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June 26, 2014

At the request of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), BMW is to inspect Takata airbags installed in 2000-2006 E46 3-series cars sold in Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Reuters said the airbags are similar but not identical, to the airbags identified as being potentially problematic by other manufacturers.

A BMW spokesman told the news agency Takata air bags had been installed in 3-series models built between June 2000 and August 2006. 

"It is not a safety recall, it is a special technical campaign," the spokesman said, adding there were no known safety incidents involving Takata air bags in BMW cars.

The report said BMW was examining the cars at the request of NHTSA which is determining whether Takata airbag inflators made after 2002 are prone to failure in areas of high humidity.

According to Reuters, in an 11 June letter to the NHTSA, Takata said it would support "regional campaigns" to replace certain driver side air bag inflators made between January 2004 and June 2007, as well as certain passenger side inflators made between June 2000 and July 2004.

Takata said it believed these inflators were supplied to BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota for vehicles sold in the United States.

Takata said it would support the replacement of those inflators in vehicles in high humidity areas of Puerto Rico, Florida, Hawaii and the Virgin Islands.

In order to work, air bags need to inflate in less than half the time it takes to blink an eye. That requires the use of powerful and potentially dangerous explosives in inflators which require careful handling and precise calibration, the report noted.

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