The most expansive airbag recall in American history is continuing to increase, as over 50 million airbags manufactured by Takata are currently being recalled. About 37 million autos are in question for being recalled by 19 vehicle manufacturers because the device that was installed with the intention of protecting passengers has now been responsible for over 22 fatalities.
The airbags by Takata have been manufactured with faulty inflators that can turn the airbag into an explosive. With the grim death count and high rate of injury, it is concerning that numerous potentially fatal airbags are still out on the roads. Alarmingly, only about half of the defective airbags have been removed, while all consumers who purchased an affected vehicle legally should have been alerted when the problem was discovered.
The numbers are uncomfortably high – over 26 million possibly fatal airbags must be removed from vehicles and need replacement. The issue has been linked to geographical regions with intense heat or humidity, such as California, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. The high temperatures contribute to the breaking down of the inflator within the airbag, which can then combust.
While manufacturers need to spread awareness in communicating exactly how dangerous the airbag inflators can be, consumers also must take responsibility for initiating the replacement. In most cases, the replacement will be performed for no charge in vehicles less than 10 years old. Older cars that are impacted may still receive a free replacement, but they may need to be contacted directly to obtain special approval. Any licensed dealership can install the replacement inflator, but private mechanics cannot fix the recall at this time. However, the NHTSA is considering allowing independent repair shops perform recall repairs as it could speed up repairs, but also may add more complexity to an already tangled situation.
Fortunately, it is easy to see if your car was included in the recall. Locate the VIN of your vehicle either in the bottom left-hand corner of the vehicle’s windshield or check the door jam for a VIN sticker. Then, proceed to the NHTSA website where information is listed regarding which vehicles are affected. If your vehicle is included, please prioritize scheduling a free replacement appointment at your earliest convenience.
Since the Takata airbag recall is expanding, it may be necessary to check the list more than once. Even if you have previously run your VIN, it is imperative to be proactive in this area and check again. More and more vehicles are being included as the recall progresses, and in numerous cases, the cars are dangerous to drive.
Consumers should not even drive 2006 Mazda-B trucks and Ford Rangers, according to Mazda and Ford. These specific vehicles could be hazardous on the road if an accident occurs and must be towed to their replacement appointment at the dealership. Additionally, the airbags in some Acura and Honda models (2001, 2002, and 2003) have a much higher likelihood of bursting if a collision occurs.