Everything You Need To Know About The Takata Airbag Recall

May 28, 2015: NHTSA and vehicle manufacturers revealed the additional models included in previous recall announcements.

May 19, 2015: DOT released a statement saying that Takata acknowledges airbag inflators it produced for certain vehicles were faulty. It expanded certain regional recalls to national ones, and included inflators fitted in certain Daimler Trucks in the recalled vehicles. In all, the recall was expanded to a staggering 33.8 million vehicles. That number includes the roughtly 17 million vehicles previously recalled by affected automakers.

February 20, 2015: NHTSA fined Takata $14,000 per day for not cooperating fully with the agency's investigation into the airbag problems.

January 18, 2015: The driver of a 2002 Honda Accord became the fifth person in the United States thought to have been killed by an exploding airbag inflator.

December 18, 2014: Ford issued a statement adding an additional 447,310 vehicles to the recall.

December 9, 2014: Honda issued a statement saying it will comply with NHTSA and expand its recall to a national level. This brings the number of affected Honda/Acura vehicles to 5.4 million.

November 18, 2014: NHTSA called for the recalls to be expanded to a national level.

November 7, 2014: New York Times published a report claiming Takata was aware of dangerous defects with its airbags years before the company filed paperwork with federal regulators.

Putting the dangers in perspective

Seven fatalities and more than 100 injuries have been linked to the Takata airbags, and in some cases the incidents were horrific, with metal shards penetrating a driver’s face and neck. As awful as they are, such incidents are very rare. In June of 2015, Takata stated that it was aware of 88 ruptures in total: 67 on the driver’s side and 21 on the passenger’s side out of what it calculated was just over 1.2 million airbag deployments spread over 15 years. Despite these figures, airbags in general are not a danger. The Department of Transportation estimates that between 1987 and 2012, frontal airbags have saved 37,000 lives.

Based on information provided by Takata and acting under a special campaign by NHTSA, the involved automakers are responding to this safety risk by recalling all vehicles that have these specific airbags. While the automakers are prioritizing resources by focusing on high-humidity areas, they shouldn’t stop there. We encourage a national approach to the risks, as vehicles tend to travel across state borders, especially in the used-car market.

For a historical perspective, AutoSafety.org has compiled a list of airbag recalls over time.  

Takata airbag Q&A

How do I know whether my car is affected by the recall?

There are several ways to check whether your specific car is affected. You’ll need your vehicle identification number, VIN, found in the lower driver-side corner of the windshield (observable from outside the vehicle), as well as on your registration and insurance documents. Punch that number into NHTSA’s online VIN-lookup tool. If your vehicle is affected, the site will tell you so. NHTSA also has a list of vehicles available for a quick review, and the manufacturers have ownership sections on their websites for such information. Or you can call any franchised dealer for your car brand.

Acura Lexus
BMW Mazda
Chrysler Mitsubishi (Registration req'd)
Dodge Nissan
Ford Subaru
General Motors (includes Pontiac, Saab) Toyota
Honda  
Infiniti NHTSA VIN lookup tool

What is taking so long for my airbag to arrive?

Many affected owners are learning that it may take weeks or months for their replacement airbags to arrive. Takata has ramped up and added to its assembly lines, and expects to be cranking out a million replacement kits per month by September, 2015. But with the recalled airbags now numbering more than 34 million, replacing them all could take years, even as other suppliers race to support this initiative.

Can other suppliers step in to fill the gaps?

As recently as the fall of 2014 it looked unlikely that other airbag suppliers could pick up the slack. There was little spare assembly capacity anywhere, and rival systems used different designs. That picture is changing, and other major suppliers are now involved, including AutoLiv, TRW, and Daicel. Takata has said that it is now using competitors’ products in half the inflator-replacement kits it is churning out, and expects that number to reach more than 70 percent. Those rival suppliers also use a propellant that hasn’t been implicated in the problems Takata has experienced.

How important is that I respond to the recall?

All recalls, by definition, are concerned with safety and should be treated seriously. As with all recalls, we recommend having the work performed as soon as parts are available and the service can be scheduled. Since age has been established as a key factor in most of the Takata airbag ruptures to date, it’s especially important for owners of older recalled cars to get this work done.

Does it matter where I live?

According to NHTSA, yes. The Takata inflators seem to be vulnerable to persistent high humidity and high temperature conditions, such as in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, the Gulf Coast states, Hawaii, and island territories. However, since a number of confirmed deaths have occured in places outside the priority recall area, this recall should not be ignored.

How are repairs being prioritized?

Automakers are getting the replacement parts as fast as they can, and most are sending them to the high-humidity areas first. Northern and less-humid areas might need to wait longer for parts availability, depending on the brand. Contact your dealership to learn how soon the work can be performed.

What if I spend only a certain part of the year in a humid climate?  

People who travel to the higher-risk areas in times of low humidity (such as snowbirds) are not at the same level of risk as those who live in those areas year-round, according to NHTSA.

Are the airbags in my car definitely defective?

No. Since 2002 only a very small number of some 30 million cars have been involved in these incidents. Between November, 2014 and May, 2015, Takata reported to NHTSA that the company had conducted more than 30,000 ballistic tests on airbag inflators returned pursuant to the recalls. In those tests, 265 ruptured. That is an unacceptably high number, and, at 0.8 percent, a far higher frequency than what has been seen so far in vehicles on the road. According to defect reports filed with the government, Takata said that as of May 2015 it was aware of 84 ruptures that had occurred in the field since 2002.  

I’m worried about driving, what should I do until the fix is made?

If the recall on your car involves only the front passenger-side airbag, then don’t let anyone sit in that seat. But if you use the VIN-lookup tool and it says that the problem involves the driver’s side, you should do what you can to minimize your risk. If possible, consider:

  • Minimizing your driving.
  • Carpooling with someone whose vehicle is not affected by the recall.
  • Utilizing public transportation.
  • Renting a car.

Renting a car until yours is repaired can prove expensive and ultimately might not be the ideal solution. Asking your dealer whether they will provide one, or a loaner vehicle might be worth a try if it accomplishes nothing else than putting some pressure on the manufacturer. If you do get a rental car, as with any new vehicle or rental, take some time to familiarize yourself with its operation before driving.

What about shutting off airbags until the replacement parts arrive?

Right now only Toyota is recommending this course of action. Consumer Reports has concerns about the recommendation from a safety standpoint.

Should I expect to pay any money to get the recall fix?

Repairs conducted under the recall are free, but unrelated problems discovered during the service may not be.

BMW

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Affected owners in Florida, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico have been prioritized in this recall and will receive parts first. If you live in these regions, make sure to contact your local BMW dealer immediately to schedule an appointment to have your front driver and/or passenger airbag replaced. BMW recommends that no one sit in the front passenger seat until that airbag is replaced.

Recalled cars:

2008-2013 1 Series (128i, 135i, M)

2000 323i / 328i

2001-2013 M3

2002-2003 M5

2002-2006 325Ci

2002-2006 330Ci

2002-2003 325iT

2002-2003 325XiT

2006-2012 325XiT

2001-2011 325i / 325Xi

2006-2013 328i / 328Xi / 328i xDrive

2001-2011 330i / 330Xi

2006-2013 335i / 335Xi / 335 xDrive

2009-2011 335d

2007-2013 335is

2002-2003 525i / 530i / 540i

2013-2015 X1 sDrive 28i / xDrive28i / xDrive30i

2003 X5 3.0i / X5 4.4i

2007-2013 X5 xDrive30i / xDrive35i / xDrive48i / xDrive50i / M

2009-2013 X5 xDrive35d

2008-2014 X6 xDrive35i / xDrive50i / M

Chrysler

Chrysler is going to replace the airbag in cars based in Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is currently working on accumulating a supply of replacement parts, and is contacting customers as they become available.

Chrysler stresses that its vehicles are equipped with inflators that differ from other vehicles. The American automaker is saying that these inflators are not faulty.

Recalled cars:

Chrysler:

2007-2008 Chrysler Aspen

2005-2010 Chrysler 300

2005-2010 Chrysler 300C

2006-2007 Chrysler Crossfire

2005-2010 Chrysler SRT8

Dodge:

2008-2010 Dodge Challenger

2006-2010 Dodge Charger

2005-2011 Dodge Dakota

2004-2008 Dodge Durango

2005-2008 Dodge Magnum

2003-2009 Dodge Ram 1500

2003-2009 Dodge Ram 2500

2003-2009 Dodge Ram 3500

2008-2010 Dodge Ram 4500

2008-2010 Dodge Ram 5500

Ford

Contact your local Ford dealer to schedule an appointment to have the airbag replaced in affected vehicles. Ford states that it has not seen any issues in its vehicles, but under advisement from NHTSA, and with information from Takata, the company is recalling specific vehicles, including the 2004 Ford Ranger and 2005-2014 Mustang.

Recalled cars:

2004-2006 Ranger - Driver’s and/or passenger side airbag

2005-2006 GT - Driver’s and/or passenger side airbag

2005-2014 Mustang - Driver’s side airbag

General Motors

Double check that your vehicle is actually involved. It was first announced that many Buicks, Cadillacs and Oldsmobiles were affected by the recall. It turns out that was an error in reporting by NHTSA. Most of those vehicles were part of an unrelated recall years ago.

Interestingly, the two remaining vehicles were actually produced by other automakers and rebranded under former GM makes: the 2003-2005 Pontiac Vibe (built alongside the Toyota Matrix) and the 2005 Saab 9-2x (a Subaru-built vehicle rebranded as a Saab). Both vehicles should be taken to a current GM dealership for repairs.

Recalled cars:

2007-2008 Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500

2007-2008 GMC Sierra 2500/3500

2003-2007 Pontiac Vibe

2005 Saab 9-2x

2003-2011 Saab 9-3

2010-2011 Saab 9-5

2008-2009 Saturn Astra

Honda

Honda has the most affected vehicles, with more than five million cars being recalled. If you haven’t already, go to Honda’s recall site and enter your VIN. If your vehicle is included in this recall, the site will provide a description of the problem and instructions on how to proceed.

If you have a vehicle that was first sold in, or is registered in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands—take immediate action. If you haven’t already received notice in the mail, print out the results of your VIN search and contact your nearest Honda dealer. They have allocated the replacement parts to these high humidity areas and will replace the part once you’ve made an appointment. Honda will be sending notices to other areas on a rolling basis as the parts become available.

Honda will comply with NHTSA and expand its recall to a national level. This brings the number of affected Honda/Acura vehicles to 5.75 million.

On January 18, 2015, the driver of a 2002 Honda Accord became the fifth person in the United States thought to have been killed by an exploding airbag inflator in a minor two-car collision in Spring, Texas. Although that Accord had been recalled to replace its driver-side airbag inflator in 2011, the recall work was never done, Honda has acknowledged. The driver who was killed had bought the car used less than a year ago and may never have received the recall notice. Consumer Reports urges all car owners to respond right away to safety-defect recalls.

Recalled cars:

 

Acura:

2003 Acura CL

2013-2016 Acura ILX

2013-2014 Acura ILX hybrid

2003-2006 Acura MDX

2007-2016 Acura RDX

2005-2012 Acura RL

2002-2003 Acura 3.2 TL

2009-2014 Acura TL

2010-2013 Acura ZDX

Honda:

2001-2007 Honda Accord - Driver’s side airbag

2003-2007 Honda Accord - Passenger side airbag

2001-2005 Honda Civic - Driver’s & passenger side airbag

2002-2011 Honda CR-V - Driver’s side airbag

2011-2015 Honda CR-Z

2003-2011 Honda Element - Driver’s side airbag

2010-2014 Honda FCX Clarity

2009-2013 Honda Fit

2013-2014 Honda Fit EV

2010-2014 Honda Insight

2002-2004 Honda Odyssey - Driver’s side airbag

2003-2008 Honda Pilot - Driver’s side airbag

2006-2014 Honda Ridgeline - Driver’s side airbag

Mazda

Mazda has focused its recall on vehicles sold or registered in Florida, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. The automaker will replace the front and/or passenger airbag inflators.

Recalled cars:

2004-2006 B-Series Truck - Driver and/or passenger side airbag

2003-2008 Mazda6 - Driver and/or passenger side airbag

2006-2007 MazdaSpeed6 - Driver and/or passenger side airbag

2004-2005 MPV - Driver and/or passenger side airbag

2004-2008 Mazda RX-8 - Driver and/or passenger side airbag

Mercedes-Benz

2005 C230 Kompressor

2006-2007 C230

2008-2011 C300

2008-2011 C300 4Matic

2005 C320

2006-2011 C350

2009-2011 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG

2010-2011 E350

2010-2011 E350 4Matic

2011 E350 Cabriolet

2010-2011 E550

2010-2011 E550 4Matic

2011 E550 Cabriolet

2010-2011 E63 AMG

2009-2010 GL320 BlueTec 4Matic

2011-2012 GL350 BlueTec 4Matic

2009-2012 GL450 4Matic

2009-2012 GL550 4Matic

2010-2012 GLK350

2010-2012 GLK350 4Matic

2009-2010 ML320 BlueTec 4Matic

2009-2011 ML350

2009-2011 ML350 4Matic

2010-2011 ML450 4Matic Hybrid

2009-2011 ML550 4Matic

2009-2011 ML63 AMG

2007-2008 SLK280

2007-2008 SLK350

2007-2008 SLK55 AMG

2011-2014 SLS AMG

2012 SLS AMG Cabriolet

2013-2014 SLS AMG GT

2009-2010 R320 CDI 4Matic

2009-2012 R350 4Matic

2011-2012 R350 BlueTec 4Matic

Mitsubishi

If you see that your car as part of this recall, Mitsubishi advises owners to act immediately in scheduling an appointment to replace it. If the dealer does not have the part yet, they will provide instructions on how best to proceed until the part is available.

Recalled cars:

2004-2006 Lancer

2004-2006 Lancer Evolution

2004 Lancer Sportback

2006-2009 Mitsubishi Raider

Nissan

Nissan has notified owners of affected vehicles to bring their vehicle in for inspection and potential parts replacement. Extra attention is being paid to “some areas” of Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands. Nissan says they have a sufficient supply of airbags to keep up with demand.

Recalled cars:

Infiniti:

2003-2005 Infiniti FX - Passenger side

2006 Infiniti M35/M45 - Passenger side

2001-2004 Infiniti I30/I35 - Passenger side 

2002-2003 Infiniti QX4 - Passenger side  

Nissan:

2001-2003 Nissan Maxima - Passenger side

2002-2004 Nissan Pathfinder - Passenger side

2002-2006 Nissan Sentra - Passenger side  

Subaru

Call your local Subaru dealer and schedule an appointment to have the airbag replaced. There is no wait for parts to arrive and no special emphasis on localized climates or regions. Because second owners may not know where the previous owner of their vehicle lived/drove, Subaru does not want to focus on any particular region.

Recalled cars:

2003-2005 Baja - Passenger side

2003-2008 Legacy - Passenger side

2003-2008 Outback - Passenger side

2004-2005 Impreza (include WRX/STi) - Passenger side

Toyota

Immediate action is recommended if your vehicle registered in the coastal areas around the Gulf of Mexico, including Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Or if the car is in Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii.

Toyota will replace the front passenger airbag. If the part is not available, the dealership can disable the front passenger airbag until a replacement part is available, and then recommends that the front passenger seat not be occupied.

Toyota also says that if you do not follow the instructions in the owner letter to have the work performed, then you should not drive your vehicle.

If you must use the seat after airbag deactivation, we advise that extra care should be taken to ensure passengers wear a seatbelt.

When the parts become available, owners will be notified by mail to bring their vehicle in for the proper fix.

Finally, if you are uncomfortable driving your vehicle to the dealership to have the work performed, contact your local Toyota dealer, and they will arrange to have the vehicle picked up.

 

Recalled cars:

Lexus:

2002-2007 Lexus SC - Passenger side  

Toyota:

2003-2007 Toyota Corolla - Passenger side

2003-2007 Toyota Matrix - Passenger side

2004-2005 Toyota RAV4

2002-2007 Toyota Sequoia - Passenger side

2003-2006 Toyota Tundra - Passenger side

Volkswagen

Recalled cars:

Audi:

2005-2013 Audi A3

2006-2009 Audi A4 Cabrio

2010-2011 Audi A5 Cabrio

2009-2012 Audi Q5

Volkswagen:

2009-2014 Volkswagen CC

2012-2014 Volkswagen Eos

2010-2014 Volkswagen Golf

2010-2014 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen

2006-2010 Volkswagen Passat

2012-2014 Volkswagen Passat

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