by Matt Konkle
Quadratec Channel Editor
Fresh off the heels of its settlement with the Federal government regarding diesel emissions, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is recalling some 1.6 million vehicles worldwide to replace Takata front passenger airbag inflators.
The announced recall covers most Jeep Wranglers built between 2010 through 2016, as well as 2010 Dodge Ram 3500/4500/5500 trucks, and some Dodge and Chrysler passenger cars. It is part of the largest series of automotive recalls in U.S. history, with nearly 10 million inflators being recalled this year.
Takata inflators, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, can explode with too much force, hurling shrapnel into drivers and passengers. At least 23 people have died from the problem worldwide with hundreds more injured, per the NHTSA.
Owners of vehicles covered under this FCA recall will be notified by letter and dealers are set to replace inflators with safe versions. The automaker says it is not aware of any injuries in vehicles involved with this particular portion of the recall, but says it has plenty of replacement parts and is urging people to get the repairs done.
"Recall service is free, we have replacement parts and dealers are ready to help," Mark Chernoby, FCA's head of safety for North America, said in a statement.
Now, those who own Wranglers inside these listed production years aren’t necessarily affected. If you don’t feel like stalking your mailman waiting for a possible recall letter, you can check your vehicle’s status at https://www.airbagrecall.com by entering either your license plate or vehicle identification number.
Overall, the NHTSA estimates around 50 million vehicles are, or have been, affected by the national recall of Takata airbags which began ten years ago. In its annual report last year, the NHTSA said around 16.7 million faulty inflators still need replacement.
The recalls were triggered after learning the chemical Takata used to inflate its air bags, ammonium nitrate, can deteriorate over time due to high humidity and temperature fluctuations. The most dangerous inflators are in areas of the South along the Gulf of Mexico that have high humidity.
The vast scope of recalls forced Takata of Japan to seek bankruptcy protection and sell most of its assets to pay for the fixes.
This is FCA's fourth—and final— stage in the Takata recall process. The automakers says it has currently replaced more than four million airbags.