— Takata non-azide driver inflators (NADIs) are under a federal investigation after reports the airbags could explode or could fail to deploy properly.
The inflators don't contain ammonium nitrate, the chemical affected by moisture and known for causing airbag explosions that have killed and injured vehicle occupants. But the NADIs can still be affected by moisture due to defective foil seals at the openings of the inflator housings.
While Takata inflators with ammonium nitrate are known for exploding and sending pieces of metal into occupants and vehicle cabins, the non-azide inflators can cause slow airbag deployments.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation includes NADI-equipped airbags in vehicles built by BMW, Honda, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Volkswagen. It's possible more automakers will be included, but the only automaker that has recalled vehicles is BMW.
In December 2019, the automaker recalled more than 116,000 vehicles to replace the Takata non-azide inflators. BMW was certainly taking the subject seriously because owners of about 8,000 vehicles were told not to drive the cars.
In addition, Takata ordered a recall of about 1.4 million inflators produced between May 1, 1995, and August 31, 1999. However, the recall didn't name which automakers and models were affected.
NHTSA sent letters to the known automakers which used the inflators seeking to learn details about incidents and data related to Takata non-azide driver inflators.