The Takata airbag issue has created one of the biggest car recalls in history with the defect posing serious risks for up to 100 million vehicles worldwide but only 37 per cent of the affected vehicles in Australia have been repaired so far.
The airbags take less than an hour to fit and South West consumers are urged to respond to recall notices from manufacturers advising them to have the airbags replaced free of charge as soon as possible.
Consumer Protection have also asked motor vehicle repairers to take a few minutes to complete an online check to see if their customer’s vehicle is subject to the recall and inform them accordingly.
Consumers should contact their dealer or the manufacturer should they have any doubts regarding their vehicle if they have not already been contacted directly.
More details are available from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Product Safety website at recalls.gov.au.
Importantly if you follow the links on the website you can actually view the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for your vehicle to see if it is listed for recall and if it is, make sure it gets fixed immediately.
Since 2009, more than 2.3 million vehicles in Australia have become subject to the recall of airbags made by Japanese manufacturer Takata, and more than 1.5 million still need replacement airbags.
The airbags are in 60 makes of cars sold in Australia including Honda, Toyota, BMW, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Lexus, Jeep, Nissan, Chrysler, and Dodge. The recall also applies to a small number of trucks and motorcycles.
The Federal Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack recently issued a notice for a compulsory recall of all vehicles with defective Takata airbags installed, following an ACCC safety investigation.
The airbags are being recalled because the propellant in the inflators may degrade after prolonged exposure to high absolute humidity and fluctuating high temperatures.
Degraded propellant can cause inflator rupture during airbag deployment. In the event of an inflator rupture, metal fragments could pass through the airbag cushion material, striking the vehicle occupants, and result in serious injury or death.
Immediate steps need to be taken if a car has a Takata ‘alpha’ airbag installed. Alpha bags are a higher risk subset of the Takata bags being recalled.
The higher risk alpha airbags were installed in certain Honda, Toyota, Nissan, BMW and Lexus cars, with models sold between 1999 and 2006.
Following the death of a 58 year-old man in New South Wales in July this year, the first Takata airbag related death in Australia, it was revealed that the driver had received five recall notices. When it comes to recalls of this nature, consumers should not be complacent about responding and seeking the remedy.
It is the responsibility of consumers, industry and regulators to work together to ensure there are no further injuries or deaths as a result of the defective airbags.