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Toyota Canada issues ‘Do not drive’ warning for 7,300 cars over airbag defects

The Canadian Press   

Health & Safety Industry Automotive Manufacturing automotive Canada manufacturer manufacturing Safety Toyota

Toyota Canada Inc. reissued an urgent “Do not drive” warning for about 7,300 cars as part of a decade-old campaign to remind customers their vehicles may have a defective Takata airbag.

Phillip Crowe, media spokesperson for Toyota Canada, said in an email on Tuesday that the recall isn’t new and is instead a repeat of an existing recall for Takata airbags at risk of exploding and
hurling shrapnel.

The warning affects the 2003 and 2004 Corolla and Corolla Matrix models as well as 2004 and 2005 RAV4s.

“If the airbag deploys, a part inside is more likely to explode and shoot sharp metal fragments, which could cause serious injury or death to the driver or passengers,” Toyota said in a statement.

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The company is hoping the advisory reaches people who didn’t respond to their first recall in 2013, later expanded in 2015, Crowe said.

Owners can check on Toyota’s recall website to see if they’re affected, and contact a Toyota dealership to have their cars fixed for free.

Takata used volatile ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate airbags in a crash. But the chemical propellant can deteriorate over time when exposed to high temperatures and humidity. It can explode with too much force, blowing apart a metal canister and spewing shrapnel.

At least 26 people have been killed in the U.S. by Takata inflators since May 2009, and at least 30 have died worldwide including people in Malaysia and Australia. In addition, about 400 people have been injured. The exploding airbags sent Takata of Japan into bankruptcy.

Crowe said the company is not aware of any airbag inflator ruptures or injuries to Canadian drivers related to the recall.

Takata airbag malfunctions led to the largest series of auto recalls in history, with about 100 million vehicles affected worldwide.

— With files from The Associated Press.

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