Commissioner's Blog: Airbag recall inflates
With Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping
The number of cars recalled in Australia, due to problems with faulty Takata airbags, keeps inflating. As more and more major manufacturers add models to the growing list, it’s important for car-owners to check their vehicle against the database, even if they’ve checked previously.
Defective Takata airbags can deploy with too much force and shoot out metal fragments, or under-inflate, and they have caused more than 230 injuries and at least 23 deaths globally.
Ten of thousands of cars are affected Australia-wide. This includes certain Honda, Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Mazda and Lexus cars sold between 2001 and 2004, Ford Couriers made between 1998 and 2000 and Toyota, Mazda and Suzuki vehicles manufactured between 1996 and 1999. Many of those same brands have recalled vehicles for different years and other brands like Audi and Mitsubishi have also recalled cars.
There are a mixture of compulsory and voluntary recalls going, depending on which type of Takata airbag – “Alpha” ones or those with “NADI 5-AT propellant”. In Western Australia the Department of Transport has the power to cancel your vehicle registration if you don’t respond to a notice to replace an “Alpha” airbag because the risk of injury or death is so high.
You can check whether your vehicle is affected at www.ismyairbagsafe.com.au or by texting 'Takata' to 0487 AIRBAG (247224). All you need is your rego. You can also check at www.productsafety.gov.au/takata but will need your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
Our advice if you find your vehicle IS affected is to:
- STOP driving it and consider other transport options; and
- contact the vehicle manufacturer as soon as possible to organise your free replacement.
All the airbag replacements are free of charge – “Alpha” ones need to be exchanged immediately and people who live in areas of high heat and humidity, such as the Kimberley, take priority. However, non-Alpha airbags and considered non-critical are subject to a graduated replacement program by the manufacturer. Under the latest voluntary recall, Toyota, Mazda and Suzuki are offering buy-back options, or alternative transport means until the “NADI 5-AT” airbags are replaced.
If you’re in WA and you’re having any trouble with the remedy process, you can contact Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54 or email email@example.com.
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