Takata airbag recalls and replacements
A compulsory recall of vehicles fitted with defective Takata airbags was announced in February 2018. The below information will help you understand your responsibilities in relation to the recall.
Takata airbag recalls
Product Safety Australia's website has a full list of recalled vehicles including those with alpha airbags.
Producty Safety Australia have developed detailed guidance publications for suppliers:
• vehicle manufacturers
• authorised vehicle dealers
• independent secondhand vehicle dealers
• suppliers of spare parts
• grey importers and RAWS participants.
What does active or future recall mean?
Under the recall, vehicles will be categorised as under ‘active’ or ‘future’ recall. Active means that vehicles should be fixed right away. Future recalled vehicles contain defective Takata airbags, but recall action has not yet been initiated by the supplier.
When does the recall apply?
As of 8 March 2018 all vehicles fitted with the defective 'alpha' Takata airbags are under 'active recall'. Due to the high risk of rupture of alpha airbags replacements should be scheduled as soon as possible and the vehicle should NOT be driven prior to that.
Can I sell vehicles that are fitted with defective Takata airbags?
If you sell vehicles, you must check the VIN and other recall information for each vehicle in your possession in order to find out if the vehicle is under active recall or is subject to a future recall. The recall prohibits the sale of vehicles with defective Takata Airbag Inflators if the vehicles are under “active” recall.
If you identify vehicles in your possession which are subject to future recall, you can sell the vehicle but are required to meet certain communication requirements detailed in the secondhand vehicles dealers guidance document.
How long can we take to conduct the replacements?
Suppliers are required to arrange for defective airbag inflators to be replaced as soon as practicable, and by no later than 31 December 2020. Recalls must be initiated in accordance with the priority risk factors, which include the geographical location of the vehicle, age of the vehicle and location of the airbag inflator.
Practically, once a recall has been initiated by the supplier consumers should not face delays in obtaining a replacement airbag.
There are prescribed timeframes for replacing an alpha airbag, with all other recalled airbags requiring replacement without delay. For alpha airbags if a consumer contacts the vehicle manufacturer (either directly or via a dealership), the manufacturer has up to two (2) weeks to transport the replacement part to the dealership nominated by the consumer and then five (5) business days to undertake the replacement from the time the part arrives at the dealership. This is intended to allow time to transport parts to rural and remote areas from centralised warehouses.
Are car owners entitled to a loan/hire vehicle or alternative transportation?
If the car contains an alpha inflator, the consumer can nominate the dealership that the replacement is to be made at, and if they don't want to drive the vehicle, the manufacturer must arrange:
- for the vehicle to be towed/ transported; or
- arrange for a technician to travel to the consumer.
For all other vehicles, if the consumer is deprived of their vehicle for more than 24 hours while the replacement takes place, they may request a hire/loan car or funding for alternative transportation (such as a taxi) that is reasonable in their circumstances. Also, consumers who warrant special arrangements may also request the provision of a loan/hire car or alternative transportation. This applies to all cases, not just alpha inflators.
What if the consumer is elderly/special needs/lives in rural or remote area?
In circumstances where the consumer is elderly, has special needs or is located in a regional area (more than 250km from nearest workshop authorised by the vehicle manufacturer) or on an island (without a place of repair authorised by the vehicle manufacturer), the manufacturer must make arrangements to facilitate replacement e.g. towing/transporting a vehicle to place of replacement or sending a technician to perform the repair. This is for ALL cases not just alpha inflators.
Who is responsible for the costs?
The responsibility for recall and replacement cost is with the vehicle supplier. In practice, suppliers will need to make arrangements through their dealer network and/or their authorised representatives to perform the replacement.
Takata alpha airbags require immediate replacement
There are currently around 25,000 alpha airbags outstanding for replacement.
Additional makes and models will be added to the future vehicle recalls page in April 2018.
Alpha airbag recall - Immediate action!
Product Safety Australia's website has a a full list of cars needing replacement airbags.
How you can help
Consumer Protection is asking all motor vehicle repairers and dealers to take a few minutes to conduct the simple online check to see if you or your customers vehicles are affected by the recall.
- Repairers - If it is on the recall list, provide your customer with the contact details of the closest relevant dealer to conduct the replacement. Encourage consumers to address the issue as soon as possible.
- Dealers - If you have vehicles in stock which are subject to the recall, ensure the airbag is replaced before sale.
If the vehicle is fitted with an ‘alpha’ airbag the customer should be advised NOT TO DRIVE the vehicle and make immediate arrangements to have the airbag/s replaced.
It is the responsibility of consumers, industry and regulators to work together to ensure no further injuries or deaths occur as a result of these defective airbags.
Please reassure your customer the replacement airbags are free of charge.
Further information about the compulsory recall
Vehicles with alpha airbags are only a part of the recall.
Full details about the Compulsory Takata airbag recall is available from the Product Safety Australia website, including:
- a list of recalled vehicles
- what drivers and suppliers should do
- an FAQ
- manufacturer helplines and contact details