Exploding Air Bags

An article in the NY Times describes malfunctioning, exploding air bags manufactured ny Takata, Japan’s leading air bag manufacturer. The bags have lead to 14 million recalls by 11 auto companies, including Honda (6.05M recalls), Toyota (3.31M recalls), and BMW (1.82M recalls). Model years affected date to the late 1990s. At that time Takata introduced a redesigned air bag to make them more compact and to reduce the toxic fumes that early air bags often emitted when deployed.

The redesigned air bags sometime ruptured on deployment, spewing high-velocity metal shards like that pictured below. Several drivers bled to death after being struck by the exploding shrapnel.

NY Times, Sep 11, 2013: “Air Bag Flaw, Long Known to Honda and Takata, Led to Recalls”

The article gives a link to NHTSA for recall information by VIN:
Recalls Look-up by VIN

Another link to Recalls, Investigations & Complaints by make, model and year is:
safercar.gov - Keeping you safe

To sign-up to NHTSA’s email alert system go to:
Subscribe to NHTSA’s Recall Notification E-mail System

I guess in trying to create a more perfect airbag, something went wrong, and maybe the result was that things are less safe than before the “improvement”. Hard to say.

Going overboard on safety does seem the way of the world, or at least the USA. Last year I had a home improvement done by a contractor, and the city inspector as part of the permit process insisted that to pass the inspection I had to install 3 more smoke detectors and 1 more CO detectors! And I already had two smoke detectors and one CO detector. I just don’t see how those extra detectors make me more safe, and in fact may create a false sense of security.

I’m not sure it’s the bag itself… I think the inflation device, a semi explosive squib that inflates the bag, instead explodes violently, like a small grenade…This event is EXTREMELY rare, 2 people have been killed out of millions of the devices in the field…

This is old news the recalls have all ready gone out at least for Toyota. We were replacing the inflators kind of fun to take apart air bags. It’s also fun to blow them up. I am “tasked” with the disposal for the shop I work in. Blowing things up is great stress relief.

Steve, how do you dispose of them and how big a bang do they make? Never seen one go off.

Here’s some idiots playing with airbags:

I didn’t realize there were so many idiots in the world. Well, I guess I did.

those things are dangerous, i think i m glad i don t have airbags in my vehicles.

in my younger more violent days i would ve been looking for a tire iron to beat the daylights out of whoever thought it was a good idea to put an air bag under me.

as for the guys who did it voluntarily…, that s fine, more girls for the rest of us “intact” guys

You could pretty much tell the difference between the older air bags and the newer ones. The older ones were the ones that threw the guy into the air. It also shows how much force those old air bags had when they deployed in a crash, compared to newer designs.

I do hope the ones that volunteered were incapable of breeding afterwards, the gene pool is getting a muddy as it is.

Unbelievable…Truly unbelievable…I bet the laughing stops when they get the hospital bills…

This must happen when the parts-pullers down at the local junkyard tap a couple bottles of Southern Comfort or Capt. Morgans on Saturday afternoon after the yard closes…

won’t be long now till we all have to put on our ‘Michelin Man’ ( wearable airbag suit you plug into the vehicle when you sit down ) driver’s and passenger’s suits before getting in to our round , bouncy house looking, bumper cars…and sign a waiver of liability…
to go to the grocery store or work.

I have disarmed the air bags in my wife’s car by eye doctor’s orders. one hard hit in her remaining good eye and she’ll be completely blind ! Car airbags pose the single greatest threat to everyone who’s had radial karatotomy.

Um, not so far fetched. I know the guy that was proposing similar.

is the airbag suit a motorcycle accessory or is it just the airbag helmet I read about ?

What a bunch of morons in that video. That is not something I would even think of attempting. When I detonate them, I place them in a cut down plastic drum. I am supplied with harnesses for them since the heat often melts the connectors in place. Once the bags are deployed they are safe to throw out. Airbags have the ability to hurt or kill and its videos like that that get people hurt. I have set off hundreds over the years without incident.


As far as that video goes . . .

Natural selection at work?

Yeah, Darwin at work was my thought too. Anyone who thinks a high explosive applied at the base of the spine is a good idea deserves the consequences.

I do feel much better about the future of the gene pool after watching that video. The idiots are going to whack themselves and all is well.

Any discussion about airbags should distinguish between first generation airbags and all the airbags that followed.

First generation airbags could be dangerous. They deployed with explosive force even in minor accidents, and they have led to a lot of urban myths that are now out of date. Today’s airbags are very different. You could say they are “smarter” because they deploy with a force that is based on the size of the impact.

Unless your vehicle was made more than 20 years ago and has airbags, you don’t have to worry about your airbags injuring you.

I don’t worry about my airbag injuring me, only because I won’t be sitting on it when it goes off.

New information about the Takata air bag failures. It seems that it is more likely to occurs in humid climates. The device spontaneously explodes and spreads shrapnel inside the car. The humidity sensitivity is apparently the most recent explanation; there have been several others. And if the replacement is another Takata unit, there seems to be no reason to believe that it will not spontaneously explode. Unsettling, to say the least.