More than two million vehicles are being recalled for a second time over concerns involving faulty airbags.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Saturday that vehicles made by Acura, Dodge, Jeep, Honda, Pontiac and Toyota in the early 2000s are subject to the recall for a defect that may cause their airbags to deploy even when the car isn't involved in a crash.
The agency said all these vehicles had been recalled earlier for the same problem – a faulty electronic control unit made by TRW Automotive of Michigan.
The original fix involved replacing just one component of the unit, but it turns out that repair didn't solve the problem in some vehicles. So now, NHTSA said, the automakers will replace the entire control unit. But it might take until the end of the year to repair all the affected vehicles, according to the agency.
“Keeping the traveling public safe is our number one priority, and we expect the manufacturers to get this remedy right to prevent injury to drivers and their families,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said.
Complicating the matter even further, about 1 million Toyota and Honda vehicles involved in these new recalls are also subject to a recall of the airbags themselves. The airbags, manufactured by Takata, could deploy with too much force and spray pieces of metal inside the vehicle, causing injury or even death.
NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind is urging the owners of recalled vehicles to take them in to their local dealers for the original remedy now if they haven't already done so.
He acknowledged that it's an inconvenience for consumers who may have to take their cars in more than once. But he called it an "urgent safety issue."
"Even though it’s a temporary solution until the new remedy is available, [consumers] and their families will be safer if they take the time to learn if their vehicle is covered and follow their manufacturers’ instructions, said Rosekind. "A hassle is much better than a family tragedy.”
About 40 airbags that had been replaced under the previous recall have deployed inadvertently again, according to the Associated Press.
NHTSA has more information about the latest recall, including a list of the affected makes and models, here.