390,000 older BMW 3 Series in U.S. are the focus of latest Takata airbag recall

BMW has issued a recall for more than 394,029 vehicles in the United States due to faulty airbag inflators that could potentially explode. According to documents posted by the the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, vehicles equipped with "a sport or M-sport steering wheel equipped with a Takata driver’s front air bag module that contains a PSDI-5 inflator ... could have been installed by an owner, even though it was not officially offered/ approved by BMW as a replacement part."

The latest BMW recall includes certain BMW 3 Series Sedans and Sportswagon models manufactured between 2006 to 2012, including models powered by four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines that run on gasoline or diesel fuel.

An explosion of the inflator could cause sharp metal fragments to strike the driver or other car occupants, potentially leading to injury or death, the U.S. auto safety regulator said. The faulty airbag inflators, PSDI-5, manufactured by Japanese automotive parts company Takata Corp, have become part of the largest, most complex recall process in auto history.

More than 30 deaths — including at least 26 in the United States — and hundreds of injuries since 2009 have been attributed to Takata airbags fitted to vehicles of various automakers.

Over the past decade, more than 100 million vehicles fitted with Takata airbag inflators have been recalled worldwide. Once the world's leading supplier of airbags, Takata filed for bankruptcy in 2017 after the scandal.

The PSDI-5 inflator has been found to be susceptible to rupture after several years of exposure to persistent high temperatures and humidity, investigations by Takata and independent laboratories have found, said the NHTSA.

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