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Airbag problems force massive recalls at Alfa Romeo, BMW, Fiat, and Jeep

Red lighting air bag control symbol in car

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

Both BMW and Stellantis are recalling hundreds of thousands of vehicles in the US this month due to airbag problems. For BMW, the problem, which potentially affects 394,029 cars, is a continuation of the Takata airbag recall, the largest automotive recall in history. Stellantis has slightly fewer potentially affected cars, with 322,000 subject to recall, but for a different problem caused by a suspect sensor in the seat belt buckle.

BMW

While the BMW recall will be sent to almost 400,000 owners, the company suspects only 1 percent of that population will have a problem that needs remedying. That’s because it wants dealers to check any cars where the owner has replaced the factory-fitted steering wheel with a Sport or M-Sport version equipped with a PSDI-5 inflator.

These inflators lack a desiccant or drying agent that would otherwise prevent the ammonium nitrate airbag propellant from taking on moisture, degrading the airbag’s performance to the point where it could overinflate and shower the interior with metal fragments. At least 24 people have been killed by defective Takata airbags in the US, which led to 42 million cars being recalled to fix the problem.

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