Late last week it was revealed that a fault found in an airbag system had led to a recall of tens of thousands of cars.

Since then it’s been revealed that another airbag issue has afflicted a much larger number of vehicles, with the tally now ranging into the millions.

In fact, more than 3.4 million vehicles are already affected by the latest recall, with the bulk of these manufactured between 2000 and 2004.

The recall affects vehicles from brands as diverse as BMW, Toyota and even Pontiac, with the common factor being that the vehicles were all fitted with the same airbag from Japanese supplier Takata Corp.

In a filing made with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Takata said the fault is only present on airbags built at its Washington state and Mexican plants between 2000 and 2001.

The root of the problem is an inflator that deteriorates over time. This can cause the inflator to rupture, which in turn can cause injury to occupants during a crash by pieces of the inflator breaking off and turning into projectiles. Some automakers have also suggested the possibility of fire.

Included in the recall are models from Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota, with a few also from BMW and Pontiac.

Popular models include the Corolla, Matrix, Sequoia and Tundra from Toyota, the Civic, CR-V and Odyssey from Honda, and the Sentra, Maxima and Pathfinder from Nissan. Some of the luxury models include the Lexus SC 430 and Infiniti FX, while the Pontiac model included is the Vibe hatch, which shared its production with Toyota's Matrix.

Owners of all vehicles on which a defective air bag may have been installed either as original equipment, or as a replacement, will be notified over the coming weeks. Dealers will then inspect the vehicles, and where a defective air bag inflator is identified, the component will be replaced, free of charge.

The NHTSA said that it is not aware of any related deaths or injuries and that it had not previously opened an investigation. For full details on vehicles affected by the recall, you can contact the NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236.