U.S. government warns millions of car owners about dangers of exploding Takata air bags

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U.S. government warns millions of car owners about dangers of exploding Takata air bags

— The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is warning owners who receive Takata air bag recall notices to get the vehicles immediately repaired. NHTSA says 7.8 million vehicles have air bags that can explode and send razor-sharp metal into the occupant areas.

The Takata air bags have been the source of numerous recalls involving about 12 million vehicles, especially in areas where high absolute humidity can cause moisture to build in the air bags.

According to the National Weather Service, absolute humidity "is a measure of the actual amount of water vapor (moisture) in the air, regardless of the air's temperature. The higher the amount of water vapor, the higher the absolute humidity."

The exploding Takata air bags have been linked to four fatalities and numerous injuries from metal inflators that explode when the air bags deploy.

NHTSA says it is especially urgent to get the air bags fixed if the vehicles are located in Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii.

BMW: 627,615 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan
2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe
2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon
2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible
2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe
2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

Chrysler: 371,309 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2003 – 2008 Dodge Ram 1500
2005 – 2008 Dodge Ram 2500
2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 3500
2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 4500
2008 – Dodge Ram 5500
2005 – 2008 Dodge Durango
2005 – 2008 Dodge Dakota
2005 – 2008 Chrysler 300
2007 – 2008 Chrysler Aspen

Ford: 58,669 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2004 – Ranger
2005 – 2006 GT
2005 – 2007 Mustang

General Motors: undetermined total number of potentially affected vehicles

2003 – 2005 Pontiac Vibe
2005 – Saab 9-2X

Honda: 5,051,364 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2001 – 2007 Honda Accord
2001 – 2002 Honda Accord
2001 – 2005 Honda Civic
2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V
2003 – 2011 Honda Element
2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey
2003 – 2007 Honda Pilot
2006 – Honda Ridgeline
2003 – 2006 Acura MDX
2002 – 2003 Acura TL/CL
2005 – Acura RL

Mazda: 64,872 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2003 – 2007 Mazda6
2006 – 2007 MazdaSpeed6
2004 – 2008 Mazda RX-8
2004 – 2005 MPV
2004 – B-Series Truck

Mitsubishi: 11,985 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2004 – 2005 Lancer
2006 – 2007 Raider

Nissan: 694,626 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2001 – 2003 Nissan Maxima
2001 – 2004 Nissan Pathfinder
2002 – 2004 Nissan Sentra
2001 – 2004 Infiniti I30/I35
2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4
2003 – 2005 Infiniti FX35/FX45

Subaru: 17,516 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2003 – 2005 Baja
2003 – 2005 Legacy
2003 – 2005 Outback
2004 – 2005 Impreza

Toyota: 877,000 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2002 – 2005 Lexus SC
2002 – 2005 Toyota Corolla
2003 – 2005 Toyota Corolla Matrix
2002 – 2005 Toyota Sequoia
2003 – 2005 Toyota Tundra

To have an idea of what an exploding air bag can do, the government released a video of counterfeit air bags and what happens when they explode. Take note this isn't a Takata air bag, but the video is still a good example of how you can be injured or killed when the metal inflator ruptures. Click here to watch the video.

(This article might change as the government adds vehicles to the ever-growing list.)