ACCC upgrades Takata airbag warning: do not drive your car

Moving Well | Sue Hewitt | Posted on 13 September 2019

ACCC issues urgent Takata airbag recall warning to 20,000 car owners.

Australia’s consumer watchdog has escalated warnings about the infamous Takata airbags, advising owners of 20,000 cars fitted with defective devices to stop driving immediately and have their cars towed to a dealership.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission issued the warning after car manufacturers upgraded the fault in the potentially deadly airbags to “critical”, describing them as “particularly unsafe”. 

 “A Takata airbag mis-deployment can result in death or serious injury, even in a minor collision,” says ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard. “Cars with airbags listed as critical should not be driven. We encourage all drivers to check if their vehicle is affected, even if they have checked before, and to act immediately to have their airbag replaced.” 

Car in accident with airbags deployed

Malfunctioning airbags have been linked to 23 deaths worldwide.


The malfunctioning Takata airbags, which can spray shrapnel when deployed, have been linked to 230 injuries and 23 deaths worldwide, including one in Sydney in 2017. 

Suppliers are required to replace all defective airbags by the end of 2020. Cars with the high-risk “alpha” airbags, which have a one-in-two chance of exploding dangerously during a crash, are a top priority. 

Cars affected include various models of BMW, GM Holden, Honda, Mitsubishi and Toyota dating from 2002 to 2014 models. 

Under the urgent recall, owners are entitled to have affected cars towed to a dealership at the manufacturer’s expense and have the airbags replaced for free.

Delia says under the compulsory recall, 425,971 vehicles are still to be rectified but the critical listing identifies 20,000 cars that require the “immediate” replacement of the airbags.

The number of critical cars may increase as manufacturers continue to review safety risks, so drivers should re-check regularly whether their airbags are in critical need of replacement.

“This 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,” Delia says.

As at 31 August 2019 around 3.36 million airbags (82.4 per cent of total airbags supplied) have now been replaced in 2.41 million vehicles (some vehicles have a driver and passenger airbag). There are still 483,071 airbags in 425,971 vehicles subject to the recall.

Michael Case, RACV’s manager vehicle engineering, urges all owners to go to the ACCC website to check if their vehicles are on the list.

“If your car is on the list do not drive it,” Michael says. “As it is a critical recall, owners are entitled to have the car towed to the dealership and have the airbag replaced for free.

“Drivers may even be eligible for a loan vehicle while their airbag is being replaced.

“RACV suggests contacting your manufacturer or local dealership for advice on how to proceed if your car is on the list.”

If you’re in any doubt, or have recently purchased a second-hand vehicle, you can easily check your car’s airbag status on the ismyairbagsafe website.



Critical vehicles on the recall list

Holden: 1843 vehicles

  • Cruze 2010

Honda: 6043 vehicles

  • City 2012
  • CR-V 2011
  • Insight 2012-2013
  • Jazz 2012-2014
  • Jazz Hybrid 2012-2013
  • Civic 2006-2011
  • Legend 2007-2012
  • Accord 2001-2007 
  • MDX 2003-2006

Toyota: 582 vehicles

  • Echo 2003-2005
  • Rav4 2003-2005

BMW: 7909 vehicles 

  • 5 Series (E39) 2002-2003
  • 3 Series (E46) 2001-2006 
  • X5 (E53) 2003

Mitsubishi: 3254 vehicles

  • Triton ML 2007-2014
  • Triton MN 2007-2014

 

Check whether your car is affected by visiting:

  • IsMyAirbagSafe.com.au and enter your state/territory and registration plate number
  • Text 0487 AIRBAG (247224) and follow the prompts
  • Your vehicle manufacturer’s website and enter your VIN number in their Recall Database or contact them directly for information
  • ProductSafety.gov.au and check either the active or future recalls lists with further information available about the recall.