Stellantis recalls nearly 285,000 cars to replace side air bags that can explode and hurl shrapnel



2019 dodge charger stars and stripes edition 1

DETROIT — Stellantis is recalling nearly 285,000 Dodge and Chrysler sedans because the side air bag inflators can explode with too much force during a crash and hurl metal fragments at drivers and passengers.

The recall covers air bag inflators on both sides of Dodge Chargers and Chrysler 300 large cars from the 2018 through 2021 model years.

The automaker says in documents posted Friday by U.S. safety regulators that moisture may get into the inflators due to a manufacturing defect and cause corrosion and cracks. The documents say Stellantis has seven warranty claims and customer assistance reports but no reports of injuries.

Dealers will replace both side air bag modules. Owners will be notified starting May 3.

Stellantis estimates that 1% of the inflators are defective.

The inflators are made by Joyson Safety Systems, a company that ended up acquiring Japanese air bag maker Takata after its bankruptcy. Takata used ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate front air bags in a crash. But the chemical propellant can deteriorate over time when exposed to high temperatures and humidity. It can explode with too much force, blowing apart a metal canister and spewing shrapnel.

It wasn’t clear whether Takata was involved in designing the recalled Dodge and Chrysler air bags or if the company used ammonium nitrate as the propellant. Messages were left seeking comment from Stellantis.

At least 26 people have been killed in the U.S. by Takata inflators since May 2009, and at least 30 have died worldwide including people in Malaysia and Australia. In addition, about 400 people have been injured. The potential for a dangerous malfunction led to the largest series of auto recalls in U.S. history. About 100 million Takata inflators were recalled worldwide.



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