Volkswagen recalls Beetles to replace Takata air bags

Volkswagen is recalling nearly 42,000 Beetles in the U.S. and Canada because they have potentially dangerous Takata airbag inflators.

The recall covers Beetles from the 2015 and 2016 model years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says in documents posted Friday that the inflators can explode with too much force and hurl shrapnel.

Takata used ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate airbags in a crash. But the chemical can deteriorate over time when exposed to high temperatures and humidity.

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Since 2009, exploding airbags have killed at least 33 people worldwide, including 24 in the United States.

Dealers will replace the driver’s airbag in the Beetles. Owners will be notified by letter starting Feb. 17.

The Beetle air bags have a moisture-absorbing chemical that can slow ammonium nitrate deterioration. But VW and the U.S. government reached an agreement to recall them in 2020.

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