Takata air bag recall

May 20, 2015

Japan’s Takata Corporation has finally conceded, after a decade, that its airbags are defective, and has recalled almost 34 million vehicles—that’s 1 in 7 vehicles on American roadways.

Six deaths and 100 injuries have been linked to the problem of exploding airbags.

Unfortunately this massive recall puts consumers in a very dangerous position and an alarming waiting game.

Takata has to make 33.8 million replacement parts, and at current production rates, it would take about 2 1/2 years for Takata to do that on its own. And as we learned today, even getting confirmation on whether your car is impacted isn’t easy.

Under this historic recall are many Hondas, but also vehicles from ten other top automakers.

Could yours be one of them?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has set up Safercar.gov so you can put in your VIN to see if your car’s under the recall. But the agency says the site won’t be fully up and running until next week!

The VINs have to come from the carmakers, and NHTSA doesn’t even have most of the numbers from them yet.

Consumer Lemon Law attorney Timothy Abeel says, “Consumers should first call their dealership to see whether their vehicle is subject to that recall.”

Action News tried calling and live chatting with a few local dealerships today. During our live chats, and at least one phone call, we were told someone from the service departments would get back to us, but we’re still waiting for those calls.

One service representative at a local Toyota dealership confirmed that the dealership doesn’t have repair or replacements parts, and he told me this recall has been “overblown by the media!”

The advice here? Keep on calling until you get someone willing to help you. And until your airbag is fixed or replaced, ask for a rental.

Abeel says, “The consumer should absolutely demand for the loaner car.”

Experts we talked to today say whether to disable defective airbags is a question for your dealer or automaker.

There are a couple things that could help speed up the process of getting replacement parts.

Honda, Takata’s largest customer, has lined up other companies to make replacement inflators. And Takata now says it is also working with other suppliers.

It also tells us today it has made 3.8-million replacement inflators so far—just a fraction of the nearly 34 million that are needed.

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