US agency to watch unrecalled Takata inflators after one blows apart, injuring a driver in Chicago

FILE- This June 25, 2017, file photo shows TK Holdings Inc. headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich. Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. has reached a $650 million deal to settle consumer protection claims from 44 states and Washington, D.C., but only a fraction of the money will be paid due to Takata's financial problems and bankruptcy. In an agreement announced Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, the states said they will not collect the settlement so that victims of Takata's faulty air bag inflators can get a bigger piece of the company's remaining money. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

Companies want to save money by delaying any recalls, Brooks said. “The longer you delay any recall, the more of those vehicles are going to go out of service.”

By Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

U.S. auto safety regulators said Monday they are monitoring data from a group of mostly unrecalled Takata air bag inflators after one of them exploded in a BMW and hurled metal fragments that seriously injured a driver in Chicago.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been investigating the batch of about 30 million inflators since 2021 to see if they exhibit the same traits that forced Takata to recall 67 million of the devices since 2001.

On Saturday, the agency posted documents showing that BMW is recalling 486 SUVs after the Chicago driver was hurt. A complaint filed with the agency shows that on Oct. 23, the inflator on a 2014 X3 exploded, shooting a large gold-colored metal disc that a surgeon had to remove from the driver’s lung.

Takata used volatile ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate air bags in a crash. But the chemical propellant can deteriorate over time when exposed to high temperatures and humidity. It can explode with too much force, blowing apart a metal canister and spewing shrapnel.

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