The news keeps getting worse for automakers and airbag manufacturers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently announced that it is expanding its investigation into six different automakers after at least five deaths were linked to faulty electronics.
Readers will recall that the NHTSA recalled more than 56 million airbags manufactured by Japanese parts company Takata. The new investigation revolves around TRW, owned by Germany's parts giant, ZF. The six carmakers included in the NHTSA's investigation of 12.3 million airbags includes Chrysler, Honda, Toyota, Kia, Hyundai and Mitsubishi.
Investigators are trying to determine if electrical interference from wiring can cause the airbag's control unit to fail when the vehicle is involved in a crash. Experts say it is possible that electrical signals might travel through sensor wires and damage the control units, making both driver-side and passenger-side airbags fail when they are needed most.
Hyundai and Kia have recalled nearly a million of their vehicles to repair the potentially interfering wiring. Their recall includes Hyundai's Sonata (2011 to 2013), Sonata hybrid (2011-2012), Kia Forte (2010-2013), Kia Optima (2011-2013) and the 2011-2012 Kia Sedona, among others.
News sources state that Chrysler recalled vehicles that include its Chrysler 200, Sebring, Caliber, Jeep Patriot and Compass and Dodge Avenger. Those vehicles all have wiring harnesses that go across their fronts - the wiring route suspected to cause the problems.
The NHTSA said its investigation will also include non-deploying airbags on the Toyota Corolla, as well as 13 Honda and Acura models from the years 2012 to 2019.
If you have experienced dangerous problems with a new or used vehicle purchased from a dealer, contact an attorney experienced in consumer protection and Lemon Law litigation.