It’s been more than two years since the Takata airbag situation blew up (bad joke, I know). And since it all began, over 29 million vehicles have been affected worldwide with an expected total of 42 million when the final bell tolls. In the most recent release of cars with possible defective airbags, a few names stand out: McLaren, Tesla and even Ferrari.
Freshly added to the list are all 2012 to 2016 Tesla Model S vehicles, every street-legal McLaren car built since 2012, and every 2016 and 2017 Ferrari model. Even the 2017 Audi R8 is recalled.
How Does This Happen?
You might wonder how vehicles built since the initial Takata recall was launched can be affected. But the problem is that Takata is a leading supplier of airbags and there aren’t a lot of alternatives.
When the defect was discovered in their products, carmakers had two choices: stop assembling cars altogether until a replacement could be sourced, or continue using the faulty inflators and recall them at a later date.
Obviously, they chose the latter. Knowing full well that the airbags installed in their new cars would need to be replaced down the road, cars continued to flow off the assembly line.
It’s not as critical as it might seem, though. The airbag inflator defect takes several years before it may cause an issue. Eleven deaths have occurred as a result of the defective Takata airbags along with at least 184 injuries, but only on older model cars.
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The defect with the Takata airbags happens only in a collision. When the airbag deploys, metal pieces of the inflator can be propelled out along with the airbag, causing grievous injuries or even death in extreme cases. It can also cause the airbag to improperly deploy, reducing its effectiveness in a collision.
If you’re wondering the best way to avoid having your airbag toss metal debris in your face when you’re driving your Ferrari 488 Spider, McLaren 650S or your R8, the answer is simple: don’t crash.
But if you do happen to get into an accident, defective airbag rates are around 60 to 80 per 1 million parts. It’s six to eight times higher than the allowable failure rate, but your odds are still pretty good of safe airbag deployment.