The propellent inside the inflators is unstable. During an airbag deployment the explodes with such force that it rips the inflators into metal fragments, shooting them in the direction of vehicle occupants along with the airbag itself.
Because of their instability, the airbags are turning low speed crashes into very dangerous situations.
After years of recalls, Fiat-Chrysler announced they were entering the fourth and final stage of Takata campaigns in January 2019.
Some Takata recalls are being broken down into what NHTSA calls "zones". A zone is a group of states and territories where a vehicle was originally sold or registered at some point in time. A few notes about zones:
A vehicle can be recalled in more than one zone.
When no zone is defined, the recall was more widespread. Possibly internationally.
If you find this all very confusing, you're not alone my friend.
So, here we go:
Zone A: Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan) and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Zone B: Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
Zone C: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Takata inflators have been [linked to 11 deaths] in the USA, so far.
Owners of these vehicles are urged to call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or [lookup your VIN] (vehicle identification number).
"Consumers that are uncertain whether their vehicle is impacted by the Takata recalls, or any other recall, can contact their manufacturer’s website to search, by their vehicle identification number (VIN) to confirm whether their individual vehicle has an open recall that needs to be addressed."
This problem has popped up in the following Dodge generations.
Most years within a generation share the same parts and manufacturing process. You can also expect them to share the same problems. So while it may not be a problem in every year yet, it's worth looking out for.