Another day, another expansion of the ever-growing Takata airbag recall. This time, the victims are owners of the Mitsubishi Lancer, Lancer Evolution, and Lancer Sportback, which need to have passenger-side airbags replaced.
According to a bulletin from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the enlarged recall affects:
- 2004-2006 Mitsubishi Lancer vehicles built between August 4, 2003 and August 28, 2006
- 2004-2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution vehicles built between February 11, 2004 and September 1, 2006
- 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback vehicles built between August 4, 2003 and January 23, 2004
Some of those models had been part of a previous recall that was limited to vehicles sold or registered in areas with high humidity -- namely, Alabama, American Samoa, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Mississippi, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, Saipan, South Carolina, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The recall has now been extended to all U.S. states and territories, affecting a total of 82,784 vehicles.
The previous geographical limitation stemmed from data suggesting that moisture -- including humidity -- can degrade the ammonium nitrate that Takata uses to inflate its airbags. That, in turn, can render the compound highly unstable and cause the airbags to explode upon deployment. Such explosions have been linked to dozens of injuries and at least six deaths.
Mitsubishi says that it will begin mailing recall notices to owners no later than June 17. After receiving those notices, owners can take their vehicles to a Mitsubishi dealer, who will replace the front passenger airbag inflator at no charge.
If you own one of the affected vehicles and have questions, you're encouraged to call Mitsubishi customer service at 888-648-7820 and ask about recall SR-14-012. Alternately, you can contact NHTSA and inquire about safety campaign #15V321000.