Millions of cars across the country have potentially explosive Takata airbags that could cause serious injury or even death if they deploy in a car crash. Nineteen automakers have recalled 37 million vehicles, and counting, that contain Takata front driver and passenger airbags linked to 23 deaths and hundreds of injuries worldwide. If you get a recall notice or see the make and model of your vehicle on a list of cars recalled because of defective airbags, our team can help you understand what to do.
How To Determine If Your Vehicle Has Been Recalled
The U.S. recall system is flawed – automakers can take too long to initiate recalls, use outdated ownership and address information, and delay replacement part availability – so it is not wise to wait until you receive a recall notice. Rather, you should be proactive by looking up your vehicle identification number (VIN) on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) search tool. Alternatively, most automakers have their own VIN lookup tool on their websites, as well as webpages dedicated to providing information about their recalls.
If you do not know your VIN, you can find it by standing outside of your car and looking at the lower corner of your windshield on the driver’s side. Your VIN also appears on your registration paperwork.
Not every vehicle with a Takata airbag has been recalled. Dealerships are not replacing Takata airbags that have not yet been recalled, so before you head to the dealership to get a replacement, you should determine whether your vehicle is under recall.
What to Do If Your Vehicle Is Recalled
Once you confirm there is an open recall for your vehicle, you must schedule the repair with a dealership that services your brand, as they are the only repair shops authorized to replace your airbag for free.
Most automakers now have enough parts to replace any Takata airbag included in a recall. However, some manufacturers, like General Motors and Ford, have consistently requested extensions on the time limits for having enough replacements on hand. You should call in advance to insure the dealership will have the parts to complete the repair. If the dealership has the parts in stock, it should be able to replace your airbag within a few hours. If the dealership does not have the parts and you do not feel comfortable driving the vehicle with a recalled airbag, some automakers provide rental cars while you wait.
NHTSA has advised consumers they can continue driving most vehicles affected by the recall but has urged them to have the airbag replaced as soon as possible, particularly if you live in a hot, humid area and your vehicle is older than model year 2012. However, NHTSA has issued urgent warnings to avoid driving certain vehicles “unless they are going straight to a dealer to have them repaired immediately” because they contain airbags that have additional manufacturing defects that make them significantly more susceptible to rupture. Those vehicles include:
- 2003 Acura CL
- 2002-2003 Acura TL
- 2001-2002 Honda Accord
- 2001-2002 Honda Civic
- 2002 Honda CR-V
- 2002 Honda Odyssey
- 2003 Honda Pilot
- Certain 2006 Ford Rangers (Ford has issued a “Do Not Drive” warning)
- Certain 2006 Mazda B-Series vehicles (Mazda has issued a “Do Not Drive” warning)
If your defective Takata airbag contributed to your injuries in a car crash, reach out to Newsome Melton today. You may be eligible to collect compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
The defective airbag attorneys at Newsome Melton can help you understand your options if you suffered damages of any kind because of a defective Takata airbag. We work with families to help them get the money they deserve, no matter how complex their case. Call our office today at 888-808-5977 for your free case review and consultation.