FAQs on Takata airbag recalls

6 Aug 2017

A number of recalls have been announced in Australia for motor vehicles containing Takata airbags. The following frequently asked questions provide consumers with further information.

How do I know if my vehicle is included in the airbag recall?

If your vehicle is currently under recall, you should have received a notice in the mail from your vehicle’s manufacturer. If you haven’t received a notice but believe your vehicle may be included, you can:

  • contact a dealership or the vehicle manufacturer and ask them to check your vehicle’s VIN
  • check the list of vehicles affected by the Takata recall, which is updated as manufacturers announce any further Takata-related recalls.

If your vehicle is not affected, pay close attention to any correspondence from your manufacturer in case your vehicle is involved in a future recall. 

How will I know if my vehicle is added to the recall?

Vehicle owners should receive a notice in the mail from your vehicle’s manufacturer if the vehicle is recalled. You can also:

What is a VIN?

A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is an alphanumeric code that is unique to each vehicle. Most of the Takata related vehicle recalls on the Product Safety Australia website have lists of affected VINs or tables of affected VIN ranges attached.

Your VIN may be located at various places on the vehicle, such as the compliance plate, and may also be listed on your vehicle’s registration documentation. If you need assistance locating the VIN on your vehicle, contact a dealership or the vehicle manufacturer. Dealerships and manufacturers will be able to look up the VIN to see if the vehicle is affected by the recalls.

What should I do if my vehicle is under recall?

Contact your manufacturer or dealer as soon as possible to make an appointment to get it replaced.  Contact information is included in each recall notice

I’ve been told I have to wait to get my airbags replaced. What should I do?

Manufacturers should be replacing airbags without delay. Please report it to us if you experience any lengthy delays.

The Australian Government is writing to all vehicle manufacturers asking them to provide further information around any delays experienced by customers having their airbags replaced and the reasons for this. We will provide a further public update once we have this information.

Will this affect my vehicle registration or insurance?

We have been advised that the recall of the airbag in a vehicle does not make the vehicle unroadworthy or unregisterable. If you need to check further – contact your state or territory vehicle registration authority.

A vehicle recall should not affect your insurance. If your insurer states that there is a problem related to your car containing a Takata airbag – you should ask them to confirm their view in writing. Advise that you may need to seek advice from the Insurance Council of Australia and/or the ACCC. If the issue is not resolved, please report it to us and provide a copy of the advice you have received from the insurer.

Should I have my airbags disconnected while I’m waiting for a repair?

No. If the airbags are disconnected in a vehicle then the vehicle will be considered unroadworthy, can’t be registered and will not be insured. Disconnecting the airbag is not recommended by safety authorities either – if you are involved in a crash, it is far more likely that your Takata airbag will perform properly and protect you than that it will misdeploy and cause harm.

It is also extremely dangerous to attempt to open up or alter any airbag unless you are a licensed auto technician.

Some airbags are being replaced by the same types of airbag. I’m concerned about the safety of my replacement airbags as I’ve heard they may degrade over time.

You can ask your dealership or vehicle manufacturer what type of replacement airbag was installed in your vehicle and how long it is expected to last.

You should pay close attention to any correspondence from the vehicle manufacturer so that you stay informed about the possible need to have your replacement airbag replaced at a future time.

Based on the evidence we currently have from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (DIRD) and the US’ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the age of the airbag is the critical factor in the likelihood of rupture.  An older airbag is more likely to rupture than a newer one. 

Consumers should not postpone having their vehicle repaired with a new replacement airbag due to concerns that the replacement airbag may be the same or similar type as the old airbag. The older the vehicle, the higher the risk of misdeployment and the more urgent the need for replacement.

The ACCC has commenced a safety investigation to assess the recall campaign currently underway by manufacturers and will provide more information as it becomes available.

Some manufacturers have already moved to replacement airbags that employ different technology to Takata airbags. Consumers should not panic in the short term and should pay close attention to any correspondence they have from vehicle manufacturers.

My VIN is listed on the Product Safety Australia website but my dealership is telling me that it isn’t affected. What should I do?

Owners can contact the manufacturer's head office to confirm whether their vehicle is affected.

The vehicle details published on the Product Safety Australia website, including the VIN range affected, were supplied to the ACCC by the manufacturers. However, there may be occasions where only selected vehicles within a VIN range are affected.

The ACCC is interested in knowing if dealerships are telling customers that the Product Safety Australia’s Takata web content is incorrect. If this occurs, please report it to us, including the make and model of the vehicle and the dealership's details.

My vehicle has been recalled overseas, why hasn’t it been recalled in Australia?

Vehicle models in Australia and overseas are usually not exactly the same, even if they have the same name and description. Manufacturers have listed those Australian vehicles currently affected in the Australian recall information.  If you are concerned, you can contact your dealer or the manufacturer for further information.

Will I be charged for the recall?

No. The cost of the recall should be covered by the vehicle manufacturer. You should not be charged. The ACCC is interested to know if you are charged – please report it to us if this is the case.

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