Just this week, the Federal Government announced a compulsory recall on all vehicles affected by the Takada airbag defect. The decision was made with the help of ACCC, whose safety investigations found that further use of cars with Takata airbags can cause injury to drivers and passengers. The airbag recall has actually been in place starting five years ago but some companies are not complying.

Takata is the airbag supplier to 20% of the world’s vehicles. In Australia, two out of seven cars are affected by the faulty airbags. So far, a death and an injury have only been reported in the country but the world has already seen 23 deaths and 230 injuries. That is why the Takata airbag compulsory recall was made.

What is the defect with Takata airbags?

Takata uses the chemical phased-stabilised ammonium nitrate (PSAN) as a propellant in some of its airbags. Per ACCC’s investigation, PSAN airbags with no desiccant (drying agent) or have calcium sulphate desiccant are prone to moisture and degrades when exposed to high temperatures or humidity. The same effect can happen when the PSAN airbags are not used for a long time. Due to this design defect, the airbags may deploy excessive force when triggered during a collision, which can rupture the airbag inflator housing. As a result, metal shrapnels may shoot out and hit the drivers and passengers. This is the reason why you need to change your airbag right away.

Which manufacturers are affected by the compulsory recall?

Affected brands include Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Mazda, Lexus, Skoda, Holden, Ford, Jeep, Chrysler, BMW, Audi, Ferrari, Mercedez-Benz, Volkswagen, Tesla, and Subaru.

Who is required to comply with Takata airbag recall?

All 2.7 million cars that are on the list of Takata voluntary recall and about 1.3 million more vehicles that are not part of the voluntary recall should comply. Note that not all vehicles will be recalled immediately as it will be done on a rolling basis based on safety risk and other aspects.

How to know if your car is affected?

The first thing to do is to locate your vehicles Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which you can find on the registration papers or on the vehicle itself. Go to your manufacturer’s website and click on the Takata airbag recall link. Enter your vehicle’s VIN and you will find out right away if your car has faulty airbags or not.

If you can’t find your car’s VIN, you can go to www.productsafety.gov.au/recalls where you can find the current Takata airbag recall list. The current list includes the make and model, year, and PRA No. of all vehicles recalled. On the website, you can also find a link future recall list. Manufacturers are required to post the future recall list by July 1, 2018.

What to do if your car is on the recall list?

If your vehicle happens to have faulty airbags, the manufacturer’s website will prompt you to schedule an appointment in cases when the replacement airbag is available. If you have searched through recalls.gov.au and found your vehicle on the current list, contact your supplier right away to schedule the replacement of the airbag. If you find your vehicle on the future recall list, ensure that the supplier has your updated contact information so you can be reached when it’s your car’s turn.

Where to get your car airbags changed?

Your dealership or supplier will replace your Takata airbag free of charge if the vehicle is listed on the recall. Contact its service centre, provide your car’s VIN, and they will tell you when the replacement airbag will be available. You will then schedule an appointment to bring your car in. It only takes a few hours for the airbags to be replaced. Expect that you might have to leave your car for a day due to the number of vehicles that need servicing. However, if the supplier deemed that your vehicle has the highest safety risk, it will be attended to as a priority.

Be Proactive

The Federal Government’s deadline for the total airbag replacement in Australia is on December 31, 2020. However, you must be proactive and do your part right away for you and your family’s safety. If you receive a call or a mail that says your vehicle is included in Takata airbag recall, don’t ignore it. Contact your dealership or supplier to find out when you can have your airbags changed. While waiting for your schedule or if your vehicle is part of the future recall, it is advisable that you avoid using the vehicle and refrain from selling it as well. Get in touch with your manufacturer or supplier for any questions about the recall.