The Australian Government has today announced a compulsory recall of all Takata airbags installed in Australian vehicles. The recall will affect two in seven cars on Australian roads and features a diverse list of manufacturers including Ford, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Mazda, BMW, Jeep and Toyota.
Here's how you can check if you car is affected by the recall.
Why Are The Takata Airbags Being Recalled?
The airbags use a particular propellant that, when exposed to high temperatures and humidity, may degrade. As a result, when the airbag is triggered and deploys, the explosive force can destroy the airbag inflator housing so that sharp metal fragments are blown out and may injure travellers in the car.
In Australia, Takata airbags have already caused one death and one serious injury and globally, the airbag is responsible for 23 deaths. The compulsory recall follows on from the voluntary recall that was many suppliers have had in place for several years, but adds an additional 1.3 million vehicles to the list that have not been voluntarily recalled previously.
Since 2009, vehicle suppliers have voluntarily recalled the defective airbags, but the overall replacement rate was not satisfactory to appease the Government's standards, resulting in this compulsory recall. The difference between the two is that the former is initiated by the suppliers, but the latter must be initiated by the responsible Minister.
The list is courtesy of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission
Note: Additional vehicles and their recall details will be added to the list by April 2018.
Second to this, a subset of the Takata airbags are particularly susceptible to dangerous explosion. These are known as 'Alpha' airbags. The full list of vehicles with Alpha airbags can be found here - they should be replaced immediately.
By July 1, suppliers will need to publish a VIN search tool on their website so consumers can find out if their vehicle is under active recall.
What To Do If Your Car Is Affected?
If your car is affected by the recall then you can contact the vehicle's supplier for the airbag to be replaced. The supplier may also contact you when they begin the recall process, so it's worth updating your details if you've recently moved or changed address.
You will not be charged for the replacement.
It will also be worth checking the manufacturer's website for the aforementioned VIN search tool, to see if your car is affected - provided they have published the search tool.
The ACCC also recommends subscribing to their email newsletter if you think your vehicle may be at risk, as additional vehicles are yet to be added to the recall list.
The deadline set by the ACCC for the airbags to be replaced is December 31, 2020.