Takata Airbag Recall Problems
Since 2008, more than 37 million vehicles, with 50 million airbags, have been subject to the Takata airbag recall, making it the biggest auto recall in U.S. history. There have been at least 22 deaths and over 180 airbag injuries due to rupturing Takata airbag inflators. Obviously, this recall isn’t to be ignored, but millions of drivers “are driving around with ticking time bombs,” said Chris Martin, of American Honda Motor Co. (Honda has changed up to 70 percent of the airbags in its vehicles but didn’t stop using Takata airbags totally until 2016.)
Readers Share Difficulty in Getting Replacement Inflators
What isn’t known is how many vehicle owners did contact their dealer for a replacement inflator, only to be told that it wasn’t available. LawyersandSettlements has received many complaints from frustrated consumers. For example, Richard from Sacramento was involved in a car accident where the airbag did not deploy on the driver side but did so on passenger side. Luckily there was no passenger. He says that BMW sent notices and he has tried to get a replacement airbag, but they still don’t have the parts.
Sharon in Greenback, Tennessee has a similar complaint, but with Ford. “I have received letters from my car dealership about the recall but when I call they say they have nothing to replace it with,” she says. “They also said they will ‘stay in touch if they get a replacement airbag’ but I have been waiting for about two years! I have tried calling Ford but spend hours on hold only to be transferred and told to contact my dealership. I am worried: what if my airbag blows up and someone is injured—or worse?”
And Daniel says he has been to five Ford dealerships in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky – eight times. “I have been billed twice and told to pick up the part from one dealership and I have set appointments multiple times,” he emails. “The last [appointment], I drove 19 miles and they don't have a replacement airbag. No call, no going and getting one. Ford told me they had no control over what a dealership does. One person told me Ford had not been reimbursing the dealerships, so they aren't going to do the recall.”
This writer received an owner notification letter, instructing me to “immediately contact your Subaru dealer so that they can order your inflator and arrange for an appointment to have the front passenger air bag inflator replaced with a new one.” It went on. “Until this repair is performed, it is our recommendation that you or anyone else operating your vehicle do not allow passengers to ride in the front passenger seat.” So, what can be done when you must drive the kids to school, maybe plan a road trip with the family?
"If for some reason they tell you they don't have the parts, you should demand a loaner vehicle until they can give you that replacement airbag…you don't want to be driving around with this for any longer than you have to be,” said Jason K. Levine, executive director of Center for Auto Safety. And back in 2015, Huffington Post said, “there is an option for worried car owners waiting for airbag replacement: Ask for a loaner vehicle. You may get one -- and it might just save your life.”
Easier said than done. What are the chances your dealership runs out of loaner vehicles?
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Levine adds that Takata used a cheaper chemical, in the ammonium, than they needed to. The ignition powder Takata used solidified over time, plugging up holes meant to relieve pressure. Takata filed for bankruptcy earlier this year