Discover the Latest Recall News and How You Can Stay Safe
Back in July, Takata, a leading global supplier of automotive safety systems, had a major recall of vehicle airbags. At that time, another 2.7 million vehicles were added to the recall list, and now, just four months later, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is announcing another expansion of the recalled airbags. Officials further admit that it won’t be the last such expansion.
Tens of Millions More Vehicles Included in the Recall
NHTSA officials note that by December 31, 2019, they expect an additional 35-40 million inflators, the ammonium nitrate-based propellant found in driver and passenger frontal airbags, will be recalled. According to an in-depth article by Consumer Reports, the inflator is a metal cartridge filled with propellant wafers. In the case of a car accident, the wafers explode, safely inflating airbags to reduce injuries of vehicle passengers. Defective inflators have prompted this latest recall.
Officials say some of the airbags are exploding with such force that the airbag is killing passengers. To date, there have been 11 fatalities associated with the airbags and nearly 200 injuries. The problem is related to high heat and humidity that is causing the inflator to rupture, sending shrapnel through the airbag and into passengers. The urgency in the recall is based on geographic region broken down into zones. Zone A areas, consisting of regions with hot, humid temperatures, such as Florida, Hawaii, Texas, and other deep Southern states is a priority. Zone B is the second priority, and then Zone C. Colorado is in Zone C, but that doesn’t mean Colorado vehicle owners can ignore this recall. According to Yahoo, Subaru is the most popular automaker in the state and Subaru is among the list of vehicles being recalled. Specifically, owners of following models need to have their car’s airbags replaced:
- 2003-2006 Subaru Baja
- 2009-2013 Subaru Forester
- 2004-2011 Subaru Impreza (Including WRX/STI)
- 2003-2014 Subaru Legacy
- 2003-2014 Subaru Outback
- 2006-2014 Subaru Tribeca
- 2012-2014 Subaru WRX/STI
For those residents driving something other than a Subaru, there is a quick way to see if your vehicle is on the recall list; NHTSA offers a Recall Lookup Tool which uses your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). The 17-character number can be found on the lower left of your car’s windshield, on the inside driver’s side door, or on your vehicle registration card.
Fixing Defected Airbags Neither Quick Nor Simple
Drivers whose airbags have been recalled should start the process as soon as possible, due to potential wait times. Airbags must be replaced; however, owners are told it could take months for replacement airbags to become available and that’s because this recall is impacting so many vehicles. If you are driving an affected vehicle, especially in a Zone A area, there are things you should do while waiting for replacement airbags. First, do not allow a passenger to sit in the front seat. Again, the airbag issue is with both driver and passenger seats. As a driver, authorities suggest:
- Minimize your time driving an affected vehicle as much as possible
- Carpool with others whose cars are not impacted by the recall
- Take public transportation if possible
- Rent a car until your vehicle is repaired, if feasible
None of these suggestions are convenient but do decrease the chance of injury or death for affected drivers. Vehicle owners need to decide how to handle this growing recall as there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for quite a while.