The tests involved inserting a small amount of helium gas into the inflaters. The inflaters were then put in a vacuum. If too much helium was detected outside the inflater, that meant the inflater had a leak, was defective and should be scrapped.
But workers at the La Grange factory would take the defective inflaters and test them repeatedly, to deplete the helium. With no helium left inside, the inflaters would pass the test, according to the engineer. The workers would then give the defective inflaters new bar code identifiers, so the repeated testing could not be tracked.
The engineer said he questioned his Takata bosses in 2001 about manipulating the tests, but was told “not to come back to any more meetings.” He left the company later that year.