Takata airbag recalls have been in the news for more than a decade, yet the stories still haven’t reached an ending. Read on to learn how the Takata airbag incidents came to light, which automakers are doing the recalls, and how you can access more information. Hopefully, this gives you some insight into what you need to know about the Takata airbag recalls if you or a loved one has been affected.
Takata Airbag Recalls | What You Need To Know
In This Article:
- The History
- Deaths Caused By The Recalls
- The Dangers Behind The Takata Airbag Recalls
- Delayed Takata Airbag Recalls
- Prioritizing Takata Airbag Recalls
- What To Do While Waiting For Your Takata Airbag Recalls
Takata had deployed faulty airbags installed in cars from model years 2002 to 2015, a 13-year stint in which they themselves were aware of the airbag’s shortcomings. The reason for the fault was due to the propellant Takata uses for its airbag. When exposed to high heat and humidity, the airbags can cause an explosive force upon deployment, which sends metal shrapnel flying through the vehicle’s cabin. At least 15 deaths in the U.S. were linked to this fault.
The incidents went relatively unnoticed in the United States until November 2014. In a news article published in the New York Times, it was reported that the Japanese auto parts manufacturer, which supplied airbags to many major automotive brands, had knowingly released defective airbags. These brands include Honda, Mitsubishi, Ford, Audi, and BMW, among others.
Deaths Caused By The Recalls
Counting on the airbags in your car saving your life?Think again,if you’re 1 of the 40mil cars under #recall for defective #Takata airbags,your life could be in danger.I know first hand,my daughter Jewel was killed by a Takata airbag & I don’t want you to be next.#JusticeForJewel pic.twitter.com/q9I3t6VFth
— Alexander Brangman (@ABrangmansJewel) July 14, 2018
Over the course of the next four years, deaths would occur directly because of Takata’s airbags. One such incident involved a 17-year-old female from Texas driving a 2002 Honda Civic. Her death was caused by shrapnel that sliced her neck when it erupted from the airbag that deployed after a minor crash.
Takata recalls occurred for tens of millions of vehicles around the globe. In February 2017, almost 3 years after the New York Times report, Takata pleaded guilty in court in response to a probe done by the U.S. Justice Department. They admitted to not being forthright about their airbag’s safety measures before selling them to automotive makers.
Takata agreed to a $1 billion settlement, which covered repair costs for the automakers in excess of $800 million, established a settlement fund for the victims, and included a $25 million criminal fine. A few months later, Takata filed for bankruptcy.
The Dangers Behind The Takata Airbag Recalls
To date, there have been more than 20 deaths and over hundreds of injuries caused by the faulty Takata airbags worldwide. However, it should be noted that while these automotive incidents are incredibly rare, it is still necessary to heed a recall in order to ensure your safety.
Affected automakers have been recalling vehicles equipped with the faulty Takata airbags as a response to these safety risks. However, most of these automakers are prioritizing high-heat and humidity areas, which increases the risk of the airbag malfunctioning.
Delayed Takata Airbag Recalls
While it has been more than a decade since the Takata airbag recalls were first ordered, some vehicles have still not received their recalls. As of January 2018, however, there have been reports that the shortages of airbag replacements have eased. Takata has started producing at least a million replacement kits for the recalls every month. Unfortunately, the amount of vehicles affected by this means it will take some time before you may receive yours.
You do not have to worry about Takata’s bankruptcy claim, however. Under court order, they have to deploy the replacements using the same timeline they decided upon before filing bankruptcy, and they will continue to produce the airbags necessary for the replacement kits. Production will not cease until the demand for replacement kits has been completely satisfied.
Thankfully, Takata has turned to competitors in order to satisfy this demand. TRW, Daicel, and Autoliv have joined in the production, increasing it significantly. Takata is currently using around 70% of their competitor’s propellants to ensure the incident does not repeat itself in the future.
Takata Airbag Recalls And You
If you’re unsure if your car is included in the recall, you can check on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website using your car’s vehicle identification number (VIN).
The main point of any recall is to protect the owner’s safety, so you should take these recalls seriously, and act fast if your vehicle is affected by the recalls. If your vehicle has been recalled for the sake of a Takata airbag, go to your nearest service center to inquire about replacement kit availability. When parts become available, schedule a maintenance session right away.
One of the main issues of the Takata airbags is that the propellant becomes more agitated as time goes by. Therefore, if you have any of the older models, it’s important to schedule a maintenance session as soon as possible, especially if you live in a humid area. One thing to note, however, is that only official service centers can work on recalls. Your personal mechanic may not be able to perform the replacement on their own.
As said before, humidity and temperature heavily affect the airbags. The NHTSA has provided a list of zones across the U.S. that are most affected. If you live in Zones A and B, it is important you act now. Replacing your airbags should be your top priority.
Prioritizing Takata Airbag Recalls
Certain 2001-2003 #Honda & #Acura vehicles are on the critical list for the #Takata #airbag recall. Do you own one of these vehicles? Check the recall list here: https://t.co/bkFIdhr7LY pic.twitter.com/ipEXkbpcHl
— VirginiaDMV (@VirginiaDMV) May 2, 2018
All affected automakers are prioritizing the recalls for the affected models. However, there is a higher priority for more humid areas first before anywhere else. If you live in the north, you’ll have to potentially wait longer for the replacement parts. The order in which you will be placed on the waiting list is also dependent on the brand of your car. The best way to know if your parts are available is by calling your dealership.
The NHTSA has also determined that vehicles equipped with so-called “alpha airbags” should not be used unless to drive down to the service center. These are specific 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles, and they are at an increased risk for malfunctioning airbags.
If you bought your car secondhand, you should also inquire about recalls. Your car may have spent some time in high heat and humidity areas and may be due for a recall. Head over to a licensed service center and inquire about your eligibility.
Those who spent only a small amount every year in high-humidity areas are not at as much risk as individuals who have either spent a significant amount of time in humid regions. However, leaving this to chance is not the safe way to handle the situation. Regardless of the severity of your risk level, you should do everything you can to have your vehicle repaired as soon as possible.
What To Do While Waiting For Your Takata Airbag Recalls
While waiting for your replacement kits, you should avoid driving the affected car as much as possible. Consider carpooling with your neighbors or using public transportation. Renting a car is also an option if you absolutely must drive.
Some dealerships might give you a loan car while repairs on your car are ongoing. You may use the loaner for a specified amount of time as recompense for the inconvenience. Consult your dealership about the issue for clarification.
This video from Bloomberg tells you all you need to know about the Takata airbag recalls:
The Takata airbag recalls are still ongoing, and those who haven’t received their replacement kits are still at risk. If you’re affected by the recalls, your top priority should be ensuring that this problem gets handled as soon as possible. If you or a loved one has been involved in a Takata airbag incident, please do not hesitate to let us know.
What do you think of the Takata airbag recalls? Let us know in the comments section.
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