Consumer Guide on Defective Takata Airbags
Earlier this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) called for a nationwide recall of faulty Takata airbags. The “exploding” airbags have been linked to at least 8 deaths in the U.S. and abroad, most recently involving a rental car that was equipped with a faulty airbag. More than 32 million vehicles have been affected by the expanded recall and as a result, nearly 1 out of every 7 cars on U.S. roadways are in need of repairs.
Honda, the biggest customer of Takata, is likely to have the most recalled airbags, however, 11 other automakers including BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Ford, GM, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota also had recalls related to the airbag problem.
The NHTSA is providing real-time updates to their database, including lists of car makes and model years affected. Also included is a manufacturers’ VIN (vehicle identification number) look-up tool. The NHTSA is coordinating with Takata and automakers to ensure that motorists receive updated information as soon as it is available.
In the meantime, here are some next steps for concerned consumers:
1) Check to see if your car is on the recall list
Visit the NHTSA website and find out if your car has been added to the list of vehicles affected by the recall. The NHTSA has a section on their site dedicated to the Takata air bag recalls. It also contains a vehicle identification number, or VIN look-up tool to see if your car is on the list or involved in any other recall.
2) Contact the car dealership
If your car is on the recall list, contact a dealer that sells your make of car to get the airbag replaced at no cost to you. There may be a delay in getting your vehicle repaired since there aren’t enough replacement airbags available to be installed. The NHTSA, Takata and auto manufacturers are working together to determine which cars get priority, depending on factors such as age of car and location.
3) Take safety precautions
Even if your car is on the Takata recall list, safety experts warn against disabling your airbag. Check out these sources for more information about what you should do if you have been affected by this massive recall:
- Consumer Affairs
- Consumer Reports
- Las Vegas Sun
Keep yourself informed and updated on the Takata airbag recall. If your vehicle is on the recall list, take appropriate action to get your vehicle repaired in order to protect you and your passengers from serious or fatal injuries.