DETROIT -- Honda is recalling 1.6 million vehicles in the U.S. to replace potentially deadly Takata air bag inflators, completing its required recalls six months ahead of schedule, the automaker said Friday.
When the latest recall is done, Honda says it will have recalled or accounted for 22.6 million inflators in about 12.9 million vehicles.
Takata inflators can explode with too much force and blow apart a metal canister, spewing shrapnel. Twenty-four people have been killed and hundreds injured by the inflators worldwide. Honda was Takata's largest customer.
The Japanese company, which was forced into bankruptcy by the troubles, used the volatile chemical ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion and inflate the air bags. But the chemical deteriorates when exposed to high temperatures and humidity and can burn too fast, blowing apart the canister designed to contain the explosion.
The recalls include many Honda and Acura models from 2003 through 2015. All received replacement inflators made by Takata before February of 2017 and were scheduled to be recalled a second time to replace those with inflators made by another company.
Affected Honda models include the 2001-2012 Accord, the 2010-2015 Crosstour, the 2001-2011 Civic, 2002-2011 CR-V, the 2011-2015 CR-Z, the 2003-2011 Element, the 2007-2014 Fit, the 2010-2014 Insight, the 2002-2004 Odyssey, the 2003-2015 Pilot and the 2006-2014 Ridgeline. Acura models include the 2003 3.2CL, the 2013 ILX, the 2003-2006 MDX, the 2015 RDX, the 2005-2012 RL, the 2002-2003 3.2TL, the 2009-2014 TL, the 2009-2014 TSX, and the 2010-2013 ZDX.
Honda said it has completed repairs or accounted for 83 percent of them, among the highest in the auto industry. Some of the inflators have been found in scrap yards or the vehicles are no longer in use.
Owners will be notified by letters starting in mid-August, and Honda is urging people to schedule repairs as soon as possible.
Nineteen automakers are recalling about 70 million inflators in what has become the largest string of automotive recalls in U.S. history. The recalls are taking place on a schedule set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The recalls do not include inflators that have a moisture-absorbing chemical. The government will decide by the end of this year whether those should be recalled.