There’s a good chance your vehicle is equipped with a defective Takata airbag. You can check by visiting the NHTSA’s safercar.gov website or the NHTSA’s own website and entering your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). You may also receive a letter from your vehicle’s manufacturer informing you that your vehicle is part of the recall. Together, both recalls affect a combined 65-70 million vehicles.
Airbags have saved countless lives since they were first invented, but what happens when your airbags are more likely to kill you than the collision itself? That’s exactly what has happened in millions of vehicles sold in America and globally since 2003.
Back in November 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ordered airbag manufacturer Takata Corporation to recall its airbags because they could explode during collisions, sending shrapnel into drivers and their front seat passengers. Many people had already been seriously injured and some killed by the defective airbags.
Because the recall included a significant number of vehicles produced by the world’s biggest automakers, including Ford, GM, Honda, BMW, Audi, Nissan, Toyota, and more, a huge percentage of Americans were affected. But those recalls may just be the start of the dangers, as the NHTSA ordered another recall in December 2019 for a separate group of Takata airbags that are also susceptible to exploding or underinflating during crashes.
It’s important to remember that the newest recall is still underway. More vehicles continue to be added at the time of this writing. That means that even if your vehicle is equipped with a defective airbag, it may not show up in the recall database right away. To stay informed about new additions to the recall, sign up for the NHTSA’s Recall Alerts system.
What Should You Do if Your Vehicle Is Recalled?
Because the risks associated with the defective airbags are so great to drivers and passengers, automakers will replace them for free on any affected vehicle. Whether you received an email or letter alerting you of your vehicle’s status, or you found that its airbags were recalled via the NHTSA database, immediately schedule an appointment at your local dealership to get the airbags replaced.
Be extra cautious if you own or drive a Ford MY 2006 Ranger pickup truck or a Mazda 2006 B-series pickup truck. Both vehicles have a high likelihood of airbag failure and explosion, putting occupants at serious risk of injuries and even death. If you own one of these vehicles, avoid allowing anyone to ride in the front passenger seat with you until your airbags have been replaced.