NHTSA investigating side airbag problems

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating a number of vehicles for potentially faulty side airbags, according to The Detroit News. The airbags may have been manufactured with an ineffective mix of inflation gasses, which could leave the bags flat in the event of a collision. The defective hardware has found its way into models from Toyota, Honda, Subaru and Nissan, and has resulted in the recall of around 2,700 units so far. If NHTSA finds the defective airbags in other vehicles, that number could swell substantially.

The defective airbag inflators were manufactured by a Autoliv, a Swedish supplier. According to the report, Autoliv shipped a total of 10,500 faulty inflators to manufacturers as well as two other airbag makers. Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Kia and Suzuki all purchased the defective parts, though it's unclear exactly which models were equipped with the Autoliv pieces.

Ford, GM and Chrysler have all said their airbag inflators work differently than those used by other automakers. The companies haven't seen any failures in extensive testing. Autoliv, meanwhile, said that the company saw the problem occur once in tests at -22 degrees Farenheit, though the malfunction may be more likely to occur at low temperatures.

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