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Automakers Recall 2.1 Million Vehicles for Faulty Air Bags

Potentially Defective Airbags Cause Automakers to Recall Millions of Cars 2:05

More than 2 million Toyota, Chrysler and Honda vehicles made in the early 2000s are being recalled due to a malfunction that causes seat-belt tightening and the inadvertent deployment of air bags in the absence of a crash, federal regulators said Saturday.

The cars were initially recalled and thought to be fixed between 2012 and 2014, but up to 40 cars experienced the issue after a repair, prompting U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to announce the new recall of 2.12 million vehicles.

This latest recall includes Acura MDX, Dodge Viper, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty, Honda Odyssey, Pontiac Vibe, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Matrix and Toyota Avalon models made in the early 2000s, said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which urged people who think their vehicle may be affected to check the vehicle identification number.

Owners of recalled vehicles should bring them in for a "temporary fix," according to a safety advisory from the NHTSA: "While it has not been 100 percent effective, this fix will significantly reduce the chances of an inadvertent airbag deployment that could cause injuries or a crash." The permanent repairs could take several months, the advisory said.

Compounding the problem, about half of the vehicles with the inadvertent airbag deployment defect are also recalled under a Takata Corp. air bag issue, which causes passenger side air bags to deploy with too much force and potentially shoot out fragments.

The NHTSA said that people with cars under the Takata recall who haven't gotten the passenger side air bags repaired should do so immediately.

Nine of the 40 reported inadvertent airbag deployments included ruptures of Takata air bags, a NHTSA spokesman said during a conference call Saturday.

Three people involved in those incidents had eye injuries, scratches and burns, but no other injuries or fatalities related to the wider recall affecting all 2.1 million vehicles have been reported, the spokesman said.

"This is unfortunately a complicated issue for consumers, who may have to return to their dealer more than once,” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said in a statement Saturday. “But this is an urgent safety issue."