ARC Airbag Inflators Rupture
ARC Airbag Inflators Investigation
The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) at the National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation on July 13, 2015 to examine ARC hybrid airbag inflators. ARC Automotive, Inc. (ARC), an airbag manufacturer based in Knoxville, Tennessee produced the airbag inflators allegedly using the same explosive compound that plagued inflators made by Takata.
According to the NHTSA Failure Report Summary, the investigation was prompted by one consumer complaint, two consumer-reported injuries and one injury incident reported by KIA Motors in 2014.
Furthermore, the present investigation initiated after reports of airbag ruptures in a Chrysler Town and Country minivan in 2009 (Lois Dutton) and in a Kia Optima sedan in 2014.
Therefore, such an inquiry widens, for the first time, an investigation into explosive airbags beyond the airbag manufacturer giant, TK Holdings, Inc., or “Takata.”
What happens when ARC airbag inflators rupture?
An NHTSA preliminary evaluation (PE15-027) investigates airbag ruptures involving driver-side airbag inflators manufactured by ARC. According to the NHTSA, the ARC airbag inflators fill the airbag cushion by releasing an inert gas mixture augmented by an ammonium nitrate based propellant stored in the inflator at high pressures.
The pressurized gas mixture, contained entirely within a hermetically sealed steel housing, is therefore isolated from external atmospheric conditions. However, preliminary analysis indicates that an exhausted path for the gas mixture, allowing the airbag inflators to fill the airbag cushion, may have been blocked by an object of indeterminate origin.
As a result of this blockage, the defective airbag inflators can rupture impetuously in an accident, sending metal shards throughout the vehicle cabin. As reported in an interview last year with driver, Lois Dutton, regarding her incident in January 2009 involving her Ohio Chrysler Town and Country, “a cloud of white smoke and a flash of white,” may occur when the airbag ruptures upon impact, sending Shrapnel throughout the car.
ARC airbag inflators Defect
The NHTSA reported that “at the present time it is unknown if there is a common root cause in these incidents.” Therefore, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened this investigation to collect all known facts from the involved ARC Automotive, Inc. and vehicle manufacturers.
|Make||Model||Year||Total Affected Units|
|Chrysler||Town & Country||2002||420,000|
Not sure if your vehicle is affected by the defective ARC airbag inflators? Make sure to check by using the vehicle identification number (VIN) lookup tool on the NHTSA website.
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Last Updated: August 19, 2015
- Hiroko Tabuchi. “Airbag Flaw at a Second Company.” New York Times. July 15, 2015. Print.
- “Air Bag Inflator Rupture.” Retrieved July 21, 2015.
For Further Reading:
- “IR Letter to ARC Automotive, Inc., Dated 7/17/2015.” Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- “Office of Defects Resume, Dated 7/13/2015.” Retrieved July 21, 2015.