GETTING RESULTS: What to do if you suspect your car has a recalled airbag?
Despite the best efforts of Honda, RAS, and salvage yard owners such as McMillon, there are still cars out there that have original equipment faulty airbags, or cars that have been taken in for the recall, fixed, but then had used faulty bags put in the vehicle.
“More than 750,000 airbags are replaced every year,” Chris Basso with Carfax said. “It’s not uncommon for shops to use recycled airbags that were taken from vehicles on salvage yards, or sold online and put into vehicles where the airbags deployed in an accident.”
Carfax is just one of many companies that track vehicle histories. Aside from used cars, the company also tracks thousands of salvage title cars that are put back on the road each year. And although many of them are safe, Basso believes it’s a good idea for the buyer to be aware of the previous condition of the car.
“Information is the first step to protection here.”
According to the NHTSA, there are about 70 million driver side and passenger side airbags that have been recalled. And those airbags aren’t just limited to Hondas: 19 different manufacturers have issued recalls spanning across 139 different models.
There are two steps you should take to see if you may (or may not) have a car included in the Takata recall. First, to see a full list of cars affected by the Takata airbag recall, click here. If your car is on this list, it’s time to dig a little deeper. Get your VIN number and see if your specific car has an open recall. You can plug in your VIN number at this link.
If you have an open recall on your car, contact the dealership to see when you can bring the car in for a replacement airbag. However, if you’re still not sure about the car and you want to be absolutely positive you have a safe airbag, there are some extra steps you can take.
Select a vehicle history search tool to run a background check on your car. Three of the biggest companies specializing in vehicle histories are AutoCheck, VinAudit, and the aforementioned Carfax. Prices, options, and features vary for all three; you can read up and decide which one is best for you in this article.
Once you get a detailed report on your car, there’s still one more thing you can do to check your airbag: pull the airbag out of the car and look at the serial number. As the saying goes, DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME! Airbags are tricky pieces of equipment; leave it to a professional to get the airbag out, examine it, and follow up with the manufacturer. Basso said most shops charge about $60 for this. That’s not a bad price for peace of mind and ensuring the safety of you and your passengers.
Thank you News 6 WKMG-TV in Orlando for reprint permission. News 6 is continuing to investigate this issue, so be sure to visit ClickOrlando.com/investigators to stay up to date.