Takata's inflators use a chemical called ammonium nitrate to inflate the airbag during a crash. The ammonium nitrate can become unstable when exposed to temperature fluctuations or high humidity, causing the inflators to explode with an unexpected amount of force. How much force? Enough to rupture the metal cannister during a deployment and spray sharp fragments out into the cabin during a crash.
Accornding to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), at least 15 drivers have been killed and 250 people injured by an exploding Takata inflator.
Given the scope of these recalls, NHTSA decided to spread out the recalls to get replacements to owners in the highest-risk regions or zones first. The last wave of inflator-related recalls is expected to begin in early 2020.
A zone is a group of states and territories where a vehicle was originally sold or registered at some point in time.
Zone A: Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan) and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Zone B: Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
Zone C: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Owners of these vehicles are urged to call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or visit this site for more information.
"Consumers that are uncertain whether their vehicle is impacted by the Takata recalls, or any other recall, can contact their manufacturer’s website to search, by their vehicle identification number (VIN) to confirm whether their individual vehicle has an open recall that needs to be addressed."
This problem has popped up in the following Chevrolet generations.
Most years within a generation share the same parts and manufacturing process. You can also expect them to share the same problems. So while it may not be a problem in every year yet, it's worth looking out for.