by Arthur M. Elk
The National Highway traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating older model minivans to determine whether faulty airbags should lead to a recall. Reports indicate that front air bags on 2003-04 model Honda Odyssey minivans can spontaneously inflate, possibly causing an accident and injury to drivers and passengers. When combined with two previous recalls, more than 2 million vehicles are at risk.
The vans have the same components (manufactured by TRW Automotive) that have already resulted in massive recalls for both Toyota and Chrysler. Earlier this year, Toyota recalled nearly 1 million vehicles — including Corolla and Matrix cars (2003-04) as well as the Pontiac Vibe, which Toyota made for GM. In 2012, Chrysler recalled 919,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty SUVs and Dodge Vipers to repair faulty airbags.
The NHTSA says it has received six complaints involving the Odyssey in which the airbags suddenly inflated while the van was being driven. According to The Columbus Dispatch, “In one of the complaints about the Odyssey, a driver in Hattiesburg, Miss., told NHTSA that the air bags went off suddenly in May of 2012 while a 2003 Odyssey was parked and the driver had an iPad on the steering wheel. The air bags threw the iPad into the female driver’s face. She ended up at a hospital emergency room, and a plastic surgeon had to be called in to stitch a cut in her upper lip. Some teeth were chipped and needed dental work.”
The NHTSA will investigate the problem to determine whether or not to initiate a widespread recall of the minivans.
Source: “Feds widen airbag probe to include older-model Honda Odyssey minivans,” The Columbus Dispatch, June 10, 2013.