Toyota announced that it will be recalling 844,000 cars due to faulty air bags. Car and Driver reported that the 2002–2004 Lexus SC430 and Toyota Sequoia are involved in the recall, along with the 2003–2004 Tundra, Corolla, Matrix, and Pontiac Vibe. Supposedly, the air bags shoot out "shrapnel"-like pieces of plastic when the air bag is deployed.
The problem is similar to one that Kristy Williams experienced in 2010. The New York Times reported on her story. Williams' airbag went off in her 2001 Honda Civic when she stopped at a red light. She was reportedly hit by sharp pieces of metal that came from the canister that holds that airbag's propellant. The shards hit her in the neck and she had to undergo several surgeries.
This is a dangerous problem that Toyota is working quickly to fix. The recall of these most recent cars follows another that it had in April of 2013. Toyota's recall was part of a larger one within the car industry, which included Honda, Nissan and Mazda. It affected 3.6 million cars in total. The problem seems to have been tracked back to a Japanese supplier, Takata, who has had similar occurrences in the past. Honda, who also receives air bags from Takata, may be planning to recall another 1 million air bags.
According to The New York Times, Takata controls about 20 percent of the air bag market. The issue may lie in how the canisters were stored, but. Takata announced that the problem may have to do with a chemical issue within the canister and mishandling of the product.
Consumers who believe their car might be affected by this turn of events should contact their local automotive dealer. Toyota and Lexus owners can call 1-800-331-4331 and Pontiac owners should call 1-800-521-7300. It is always important to make sure your car is safe to drive. Regular vehicle maintenance can help spot any issues that your car may have.