Nearly 2 million cars recalled for electronic airbag malfunction

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Safety Advisory has issued a recall in 2.12 million cars after an electronic component used for airbags and seatbelts malfunctioned.

Officials said the recall includes the following makes and models: 2002-2003 Jeep Liberty and 2002-2004, Jeep Grand Cherokees, 2003-2004 Honda Odyssey; and 2003 Acura MDX, 2003-2004 Pontiac Vibe; Dodge Viper; and Toyota Corolla, Toyota Matrix, and Toyota Avalon.

The vehicles were subject to recalls in 2012, 2013 and 2014 that resulted from NHTSA investigations to address a problem with an electronic component that might cause airbags or seat belt pretensioners (devices that tighten your seat belt in a crash) to deploy when they should not, officials said.

The NHTSA recently determined that a small number of vehicles that had been fixed under those recalls had experienced inadvertent airbag deployments and the agency urged all three automakers to issue new recalls to fix the situation. The automakers have now done so.

Officials said these models have a part called an electronic control unit that controls deployment of its airbags. An auto parts maker, TRW, supplied control units containing the same control circuit to all three automakers. The defect can cause the airbag to deploy when it shouldn’t, meaning the airbag can deploy when there is no crash involved.

Officials said that deployment can cause injuries to occupants and, possibly, cause a crash.

TRW may need several months to build enough supplies to fix the problem NHTSA officials said.

A NHTSA Safety Advisory with background and the steps consumers should take, as well as a detailed Q&A, is available here.

Check your vehicle’s identification number (VIN) online at www.safercar.gov/vin and see if it is included in the recall.

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