One in Seven US Cars Recalled
That Takata airbag recall fiasco just keeps getting worse. Earlier this week, the Japanese auto parts maker finally admitted that its airbags contained potentially dangerous faults. Those faults thus far have been linked to six deaths and hundreds of injuries caused by knife-like shrapnel that flew from ruptured airbags. Almost immediately afterward, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Subaru added 715,000 cars and trucks to what is already the largest auto safety recall in history.
To date, the collective recalls of automobiles suspected to be outfitted with Takata-made airbags involves some 34 million cars and trucks - a figure that reflects one in seven American-registered rides. Here's what to do if you suspect that your vehicle is affected by the recalls:
- Search your VIN: Your first step is to find your ride's VIN (vehicle identification number), a 17-digit code found on your driver's side dashboard and visible from outside the windshield. Visit www.safercar.com/vin and type in your code. The webpage accesses the Department of Transportation's database of all vehicles that have been recalled but not reported as repaired over the past 15 years. If the system says your car has been recalled, head to your nearest dealership to schedule a free-of-charge repair, whether it's for a faulty Takata airbag or any other recall issue.
- Check again: It may take up to several weeks for carmakers to determine exactly which vehicles are, in fact, outfitted with the faulty Takata airbags. So, if you don't see your ride listed after your initial VIN search, check again in a few weeks to make sure you're in the clear.
- Watch your mailbox: Takata also is sending notices to registered owners of all vehicles that the company believes are affected in the recall. Initially, they're focusing on the most vulnerable rides - those listed as being in high-humid areas. That's because the heat and humidity is believed to make the airbags more susceptible to rupturing.
- Hurry up and wait: If you receive a recall notice, contact your dealership to schedule a repair immediately. However, understand that it may take months, or even years for carmakers and dealers to get all the replacement parts they need for the repairs. If a dealership near you doesn't yet have the needed parts, don't let up - keep checking back.
From all of us here at E3 Spark Plugs, take caution. If you believe your vehicle may be part of the recall, take it seriously and move quickly.