DETROIT - Takata is adding 2.7 million vehicles from Ford, Nissan and Mazda to the long list of those being recalled to replace potentially dangerous air bag inflators.
The inflators are a new type that previously was thought to be safe. Vehicles affected are from the 2005 through 2012 model years.
Takata inflators can explode with too much force and spew shrapnel into drivers and passengers. At least 17 people have died and more than 180 injured due to the problem. The inflators have caused the largest automotive recall in U.S. history with 42 million vehicles and up to 69 million inflators being called back for repairs.
Takata uses the chemical ammonium nitrate to inflate air bags. But it can deteriorate when exposed to high airborne humidity and high temperatures. Previously the company believed that a chemical drying agent called a dessicant stopped the chemical from degrading and the inflators were safe.
But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says in a statement Tuesday that tests done by Takata show that for the first time, a type of dessicated inflator "will pose a safety risk if not replaced." The agency says it has no reports of any inflators with the dessicant rupturing. It also says the recall does not cover all inflators with the drying agent.
Nissan said the new recall affects Versa subcompact hatchback and sedans from the 2007 through 2012 model years. Mazda said its recall covers about 6,000 B-Series trucks from 2007 through 2009. Ford issued a statement saying it's been in contact with NHTSA, isn't aware of any incidents and that test data "doesn't suggest any issues."
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