Urgent safety alert for ‘critical’ Takata airbags

Airbag deflated in car
Airbag

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has warned that 20,000 vehicles, already under recall for defective Takata airbags, are now being classified as "critical". The ACCC is urging consumers not to drive these cars until the airbag has been replaced.

The brands affected are BMW, GM, Holden, Mitsubishi and Toyota. The NRMA urges vehicle owners to check IsMyAirBagSafe.com.au to see if their vehicle is affected. Owners can have affected cars towed to the dealership by the manufacturer and have the airbag replaced for free. 

Check your vehicle

Under the compulsory recall 425,971 vehicles are still to be rectified. 

Critical vehicles

  • Holden – 1,843 vehicles – 2010 Holden Cruze
  • Honda – 6,043 vehicles – Honda City MY2012, CR-V MY 2011, Insight MY2012-2013, Jazz MY2012-2014 & Jazz Hybrid MY2012-2013, Honda Civic MY2006-2011, Jazz Hybrid MY2012 and Legend MY2007-2012, Honda Accord MY2001-2007 and Honda MDX MY2003-2006
  • Toyota – 582 vehicles – 2003 – 2005 Toyota Echo and Rav4
  • BMW – 7,909 vehicles – BMW 5 Series (E39) MY2002-2003, BMW 3 Series (E46) MY2001-2006 & BMW X5 (E53) MY2003
  • Mitsubishi – 3,254 vehicles – 2007 – 2014 ML & MN Triton.

Classification as ‘critical’ means manufacturers have assessed these airbags as being particularly unsafe. A Takata airbag misdeployment can result in death or serious injury, even in a minor collision.

Critical airbags are a sub-category of faulty Takata airbags that require immediate replacement because of their increased safety risk for drivers and passengers.

This number may increase as manufacturers continue to review the safety risks, so drivers should re-check to ensure their airbag is in need of critical replacement.

“This recall is a rolling recall, which means that more vehicles can be added to the critical category at any time, and we’re urging consumers not to ignore recall messages from manufacturers to get their airbag replaced,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

In February the Australian Government called for a compulsory recall on all defective Takata airbags along with immediate action required for Takata's alpha airbags. 

Alpha airbags

Vehicles that contain alpha airbags have the highest risk of rupture. All vehicles with alpha airbags are currently categorised as under 'active recall'.

What's a VIN number?

If your car is unregistered, you can check it's status by using the VIN Number.

Infographic

Your vehicle identification number (VIN) is a unique 17 character serial number that can be found on your vehicle or in documentation such as registration documentation. You can also find your VIN on the vehicle registration certificate issued by the vehicle registration body in your state or territory.

Don’t wait for a recall letter from your manufacturer. It is important that all vehicle owners are proactive in ensuring their vehicle is safe by checking themselves.

Manufacturer VIN 'lookup'

Most manufacturers now have a searchable recall database on their websites. The recall database will allow you to check the recall status of your vehicle by searching for its VIN, and the recall initiation schedule provides the dates of all recalls and whether it is an active or future recall.

For future recalls

If you find that your vehicle is not under active recall, it is important to check again in the future as recall action may be initiated for your vehicle later. If this is the case, you should ensure that the manufacturer has your current contact details, they will contact you when it is time to have your airbag replaced. 

Your vehicle manufacturer is required to publish a recall initiation schedule and searchable recall on their website by the 1st July 2018 (links noted above). 

Do not ignore recall notices

Do not disregard any recall communications which are addressed to you, even if you have already had your airbag replaced, you may discover that there may be a need for another replacement of an airbag.  

If you have had your airbag previously replaced after a crash, you should still take your vehicle in to be checked in case it was fitted with a defective Takata airbag. With instances of vehicles fitted with affected Takata airbags after a collision and those airbags rupturing and causing injury or death. We encourage you to not disregard any recall notices and to act on the aforementioned information and any notices that you may receive in the future or have received in the past.

What about second-hand vehicles?

Regardless of whether you bought your vehicle brand new or second hand, you are entitled to receive a replacement airbag free of charge.

To ensure that you are notified if your vehicle is subject to the Takata airbag recall, you should contact the Australian office of the manufacturer of your vehicle to ensure that they have your current contact details.

If your vehicle is affected by the recall, and you sell your car prior to receiving your final replacement, you should advise the new owner that the vehicle has an affected Takata airbag that will require replacement, and contact the Australian office of the manufacturer and provide them with the new owner’s contact details (with the new owner’s consent). 

Enquiries and complaints

If you have any further questions about the recall, you can get in contact with your vehicle manufacturer.

You will find that the car manufacturers must have a complaints handling process, which will ensure that any consumer issues that cannot be immediately resolved must be promptly escalated.

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