Takata Airbag Recall: What It Means To You & What To Do About It
The Takata Airbag Recall impacts millions of vehicles made by 14 different car makers. The issue, one of the biggest safety recalls in U.S. history, affects model year cars from 2002 through 2015. The concern is that Takata airbags in these vehicles could deploy violently causing injury or death to occupants of the vehicles in question.
The problem originates within the airbag inflator. The inflator is a metal cartridge that contains propellant wafers that have ignited in some cases with excessive, some might even say explosive, force. When this occurs, the housing of the inflator ruptures, making it possible for metal shards from the airbag to be propelled into the passenger cabin of the vehicle.
The original recall involved 28.8 million airbags. The National Highways Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently saw fit to increase the recall extending it to 35-40 million additional airbag inflators in need of being replaced by 2019, according to Consumer Reports. Here’s what you need to know.
How can you tell if your vehicle is affected?
The NHTSA has the perfect database to help you find out about all recalls that affect your vehicle. You type in your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the NHTSA website and it will reveal all safety recalls that have not yet been completed on your vehicle.
Does insurance cover the costs of a rental car while airbags are being replaced due to the Takata Airbag Recall?
Because insurance policies vary greatly from one company to the next, this is a question best left to your insurance agent. Call your agent to discuss the recall and ask whether or not your policy will reimburse you for the costs while your vehicle is being repaired.
If a rental car is covered for the Takata Airbag Recall, is there a time limit for that coverage?
Just as policies vary greatly concerning whether or not vehicle rentals are covered at all, they also vary greatly as to how long the rental car is covered. You will need to discuss the specifics of your individual policy with your insurer to determine how you will be affected by the Takata Airbag Recall.
How are replacement airbags being prioritized?
One of the biggest problems with the Takata Airbag Recall is the scope of the problem. With as many as 70 million vehicles in need of airbag replacements there simply isn’t enough supply to meet the demands. Because humidity exacerbates the risks, those living in high humidity areas are being prioritized over others at the current time.
Honda seems to have been hit hardest with this particular recall. They have had more than five million cars recalled from their brand alone. They recommend that drivers in the following states take action immediately:
- South Carolina
- Puerto Rico
While these represent the most immediate needs, drivers in other states who have recalled cars should not take the recall lightly.
Should you drive your car while waiting for repairs to be made?
Consumer reports suggests that you should look up your vehicles on the NHTSA website and see whether or not your airbag problem is on the passenger side or the driver side or both. If the recall is related solely to the front passenger side, don’t allow anyone to ride in that seat. If it’s on the driver’s side you should take steps to minimize your risks. This includes things like:
- Reduce driving time.
- Carpool with people who have vehicles not affected by the recall.
- Consider public transportation options.
- Rent a vehicle.
The goal is to keep all drivers safe and minimize the risks whenever possible. With that in mind take action to have repairs made as soon as possible if your vehicle is one that is subject to the Takata airbag recall. Respond with some degree of urgency if you live in one of the high humidity states identified in the recall.