Volkswagen is recalling nearly 42,000 Beetles in the U.S. and Canada because they have potentially dangerous Takata air bag 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 air bags in a crash. But the chemical can deteriorate over time when exposed to high temperatures and humidity.


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

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

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