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'Do not drive': Toyota recalls some 50,000 older vehicles

The automaker said the air bag inflators in the cars are at risk of exploding and causing serious injury or death.

'Do not drive': Toyota recalls some 50,000 older vehicles
Paul Cancya / AP
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Toyota is recalling thousands of older model vehicles over a potentially deadly issue that can cause the airbags to explode.

The affected models include the 2003-2004 Corolla and Corolla Matrix, as well as the 2004-2005 RAV4. Toyota said the Takata air bag inflators in about 50,000 of these vehicles are at risk of blowing up and causing serious injury or death.

"Due to the age of the vehicles, if the airbag deploys, a part inside is more likely to explode and shoot sharp metal fragments which could cause SERIOUS INJURY or DEATH to the driver or passengers," Toyota said in a statement. "Owners SHOULD NOT DRIVE these vehicles until the FREE safety recall repair has been conducted."

Ford to recall nearly 1.9 million Explorer SUVs for falling trim piece
Ford to recall nearly 1.9 million Explorer SUVs for falling trim piece

Ford to recall nearly 1.9 million Explorer SUVs for falling trim piece

The recall comes after U.S. regulators opened an investigation into the problem last year after receiving consumer complaints.

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The automaker is urging owners to contact their local dealer instead of driving there to have the issue fixed. The company said some dealers may offer to have the vehicle towed to the dealership, will send a mobile mechanic to the vehicle's location, or offer an alternate transportation option.

Owners can visit Toyota.com/recall or nhtsa.gov/recalls and enter their vehicle identification number or license plate information to see if their vehicle is affected by the recall.

The faulty Takata air bags are responsible for more than two dozen deaths in the U.S. since 2009 and hundreds of injuries. The malfunction has led to the recall of roughly 100 million units worldwide and forced Japan-based Takata into bankruptcy.