Volvo recalls 260,000 cars for potentially deadly air bags

Volvo and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have released an expanded recall for just shy of 260,000 of its S60 and S80 sedans. Including those 260,000 cars in the U.S., the recall worldwide numbers about 460,000.

The recall affects 2001-2009 S60s and 2001-2006 S80s, which have airbag inflators that could have degraded and could blast shrapnel into occupants. If that sounds familiar, it’s because the monumental Takata airbag recall was for the same basic reason. But these Volvo devices aren’t Takata airbags.

Instead, these airbags were manufactured by ZF, the company that builds all varieties of automotive components but is probably best-known among car enthusiasts for their transmissions. The inflators use a material that, when exposed to high levels of moisture, can start to break down and form dust-like particles. These can ignite rapidly, more so than the component was designed for, which can cause the component to break and release metal shrapnel. According to the Associated Press, this material is different than the ammonium nitrate used by Takata.

According to the NHTSA documentation, there has been one incident reported concerning the airbags, in which a person died.

Volvo will replace all affected airbags at no charge to the customer. The replacement airbag apparently uses a different type of propellant, so it likely won’t need to be replaced again. Dealers have already been informed, and owner notices will be going out at the end of November. If you have an affected Volvo, you can call 1-800-458-1552, and the recall number for Volvo is R10125.

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