Japan's four largest car manufacturers are recalling a total of 3.4 million cars across the globe, over fears a defective part could "cause the airbag inflator to rupture and deploy the airbag abnormally in a crash".

Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Mazda are all contacting customers in relation to the defect, which has been tracked down to a faulty component supplied by Takata. Most of the cars affected were manufactured between 2000 and 2004.

Toyota is recalling the most models in the UK, with 76,000 cars due to head back to the dealers for remedial work. Nissan says almost 60,000 of its UK models are involved, while Honda and Mazda will recall 14,475 and 1,913 cars respectively.

A Toyota spokesperson said: “We have informed VOSA who will soon release the addresses of those affected to us so we can write to them.

“We will then ask customers to visit their local dealers where the part will be replaced for free in around an hour to two and half hours, depending on the model.

“Customers who wish to find out more can log on to our website Toyota.co.uk, enter their registration or VIN number and it will automatically inform them if their vehicle is affected.”

Honda says the majority of vehicles affected are CR-Vs built at the Swindon plant between 2002-2003. There will be a small number of Jazz and Stream variants built between 2001-2002 also included in the recall. A Honda spokesperson said: “Naturally, we are in contact with the DVLA to ensure we can make contact with all customers who are the registered owners of those vehicles affected.”

This is the third recall issued by Toyota in the past 12 months, with two major recalls occurring at the tail end of last year. A Toyota spokesperson said: “We are getting better at these and customers like the fact the we are proactive, contact them and fix their car free of charge to ensure it is as safe as it can possibly be.”

Cars affected by manufacturer:

Honda – CR-V, Jazz and Stream
Toyota – Corolla, Yaris, Avensis, Avensis Plus, Verso, Picnic, Camry, Lexus SC430
Nissan – X-Trail, Patrol, Almera, Almera Tino, Terrano II and Navara
Mazda – Mazda 6, 2002-2003 models only