Previously Recalled Vehicle Remedies Not Working as Designed; NHTSA Announces Follow up Recall of 2.12 Million Cars and SUVs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced today the recall of more than 2.12 million Acura, Dodge, Jeep, Honda, Pontiac, and Toyota vehicles for a defect that may cause airbags to deploy inadvertently. The recalls will provide vehicle owners with a new remedy after the manufacturers’ original attempts to fix the defects proved ineffective in some vehicles.

“Keeping the traveling public safe is our number one priority, and we expect the manufacturers to get this remedy right to prevent injury to drivers and their families,” Foxx said.

The new recalls cover 2.12 million 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. The vehicles were subject to earlier recalls to address a problem with an electronic component manufactured by TRW that caused some airbags to deploy inadvertently – that is, in the absence of a crash.

NHTSA discovered through the monitoring of incoming data from consumers and automakers that some vehicles remedied under the previous recalls may have experienced inadvertent deployments. NHTSA urged all three automakers to issue new recalls to implement a more effective remedy. NHTSA has identified about 40 vehicles in which airbags deployed unexpectedly after receiving the original remedy.

Action by consumers is especially important because about 1 million Toyota and Honda vehicles involved in these new recalls are also subject to a recall related to defective Takata airbags that may deploy with enough explosive force to cause injury or even death to vehicle occupants.

Because of the dangers involved in an inadvertent deployment, and because some of the vehicles involved may also have defective Takata airbags, NHTSA urges consumers who were covered by the original recalls to take their vehicles to their local dealer for the original remedy. That remedy significantly reduces the chance of an airbag deployment that presents a safety risk.

“This is unfortunately a complicated issue for consumers, who may have to return to their dealer more than once,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “But this is an urgent safety issue, and all consumers with vehicles covered by the previous recalls should have that remedy installed. Even though it’s a temporary solution until the new remedy is available, they and their families will be safer if they take the time to learn if their vehicle is covered and follow their manufacturers’ instructions. A hassle is much better than a family tragedy.”

NHTSA will take a series of additional steps to ensure safety, including:

  • Seeking additional information from TRW, which made the electronic part believed to be involved in the inadvertent deployments, about the potential defect, its causes, and whether other makes or models might be affected.
  • Seeking information from the automakers about how quickly they can make the new, more effective remedy available.

“NHTSA is committed to using every tool available to make our roads safer, and that includes using our authority and influence to make sure companies are doing what they should do to protect safety,” Rosekind said.

  • 2002-2003 Jeep Liberty
  • 2002-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Vehicle : 2003-2004 Dodge Viper
    • Click here for Chrysler’s 573. (pdf)
  • 2003-2004 Toyota Corolla
  • 2003-2004 Toyota Corolla Matrix
  • 2003-2004 Toyota Avalon
  • 2003-2004 Pontiac Vibe
    • Click here for Toyota’s 573. (pdf)
  • ACURA MDX / 2003
  • HONDA ODYSSEY / 2003-2004
    • Click here for Honda’s 573 (pdf)
      Honda is recalling certain model year 2003-2004 Honda Odyssey vehicles manufactured February 13, 2002, to August 13, 2004, and 2003 Acura MDX vehicles manufactured February 21, 2002, to September 23, 2003. Due to electrical noise, a component in the air bag control module may fail, causing the front air bags, side curtain air bags, and/or seatbelt pretensioners to deploy inadvertently while the vehicle is being operated.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Safety Advisory

Issue:  The recall of 2.12  million Acura MDX, Dodge Viper, Jeep Liberty, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Honda Odyssey, Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Corolla, Avalon and Matrix vehicles from model years 2002 to 2004.

Consumer Actions:

  1. Check your vehicle’s identification number (VIN) online at and see if it is included in the recall.
  2. Keep an eye on the mail for a notice from your vehicle’s manufacturer to bring your car in to be fixed.
  3. If you have not already done so, you should bring your car in to receive the temporary repair described below. Even though it’s not a permanent remedy, it will significantly reduce the chances of an inadvertent airbag deployment, and you and your family will be safer.
  4. When you receive a notice that the permanent remedy is available, please take your vehicle in for that work as well.
  5. Always wear your seat belt.


The vehicles were subject to recalls in 2012, 2013 and 2014 that resulted from NHTSA investigations to address a problem with an electronic component that might cause airbags or seat belt pretensioners (devices that tighten your seat belt in a crash)  to deploy when they should not.  NHTSA recently determined that a small number of vehicles that had been fixed under those recalls had experienced inadvertent airbag deployments, and the agency urged all three automakers to issue new recalls to implement a more effective remedy.  The automakers have now done so.


What vehicles are being recalled?

  • 2002-2003 Jeep Liberty and 2002-2004 Grand Cherokees (about 750,000 vehicles);
  • 2003-2004 Honda Odysseys and 2003 Acura MDXs (about 370,000 vehicles);
  • 2003-2004 Pontiac Vibes, Dodge Vipers, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Matrixes and  Toyota     Avalons (about 1 million vehicles, not all of which were sold in the United States)

How do I know if my car is being recalled?

First, get your vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN number. It’s a 17-digit string of numbers and letters that is printed on a small plate inside your front left windshield; you may also find it on your car’s registration or your proof-of-insurance card. Second, go online to and enter your car’s VIN to see if it is under any current recall. Remember: You can enter your VIN and enroll for instant notices, by email or text, if your vehicle is recalled. You can also do all this with the SaferCar app, available for iPhone and Android phones.

What is wrong with these vehicles?

Each of these models has a part called an electronic control unit that controls deployment of its airbags. An auto parts maker, TRW, supplied control units containing the same control circuit to all three automakers.  The defect can cause the airbag to deploy when it shouldn’t – that is, when there is no crash to trigger their deployment. That can cause injuries to occupants and, possibly, cause a crash.

Weren’t these cars already recalled to fix the problem?

Yes. In 2012, 2013 and 2014, all three carmakers issued recalls because of this problem. Each carmaker said it would replace electronic control units that had been damaged, and prevent damage to intact control units by installing filters or wire harnesses designed to insulate the control unit from damage. The carmakers believed this would fix the problem, and it has in most cases. But all three have now found cases of inadvertent airbag deployments in vehicles that received the fix.

Aren’t some of these vehicles also involved in the problem with Takata airbags?

Yes; about 1.2 million vehicles made by Toyota and Honda that are the subject of these recalls have also been recalled because a defect in their airbags may cause them to deploy with too much force, breaking apart the airbag mechanism and causing parts to fly at high speed into the passenger compartment. The fact that the electronic defect could cause an inadvertent deployment in airbags that may rupture and injure occupants means it is doubly important for consumers to get their vehicle fixed as soon as a remedy is available.

How will the new recall fix the problem?

Each carmaker has said it will eventually replace the control units in all the affected vehicles. But it is likely to take several months for the companies to get enough parts to fix all 2.12 million vehicles. In the meantime, it’s very important for vehicle owners to take their car in for the temporary remedy to protect the electronic control unit from damage. 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.

When will they fix my car?

It may take several months for suppliers to build enough parts to fix all of the more than 2 million cars affected. NHTSA will monitor TRW and the auto manufacturers to ensure that they are moving as quickly as possible to make their customers safer.

This sounds dangerous.  Should I disconnect my airbags until my car is fixed?

No. Airbags are proven to save lives in crashes. Despite this problem, your chances of being involved in a crash in which an airbag could prevent serious injury or death are far greater than the risk of serious injury from an inadvertent airbag deployment.

I’m still not sure how this affects me. Who can I call?

For more information, or to report a possible safety defect, you can call NHTSA’s Safety Hotline at 1- (800) 424-9153


Stay connected with NHTSA: Search for open recalls with VIN look up

Consumers are strongly urged to use NHTSA’s website or the SaferCar app for Apple and Android smartphones to determine whether their vehicle is subject to a recall, and to follow instructions from their manufacturer to schedule an appointment and have their vehicle fixed. Consumers who want to ask questions about the recall, or to report a possible vehicle safety issue, may call NHTSA’s Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236.


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