The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA] says tens of millions of vehicles using Takata airbags are under a recall, after experts discovered the airbags may explode when deployed due to long-term exposure to high heat and humidity.
The defective airbags are at risk of rupturing and spraying metal shrapnel into the vehicle. The risk of this happening is increased in areas with hot and humid weather. According to the NHTSA, these explosions have caused injuries and deaths. Nineteen manufacturers, including Honda, BMW, Ford, and Jeep, have air bags included in the recall.
The NHTSA broke up states into three zones based on temperature and humidity. Zone A lists the most hot and humid areas as:
- South Carolina
- Puerto Rico
- American Samoa
- The Northern Mariana Islands
- U.S. Virgin Islands
Is my car affected?
If your vehicle is under recall, you should receive a notice in the mail from the manufacturer. If you haven't received a notice but want to double check, the NHTSA has a recall look-up tool. All you need to see if your car is listed is your vehicle's 17 character Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
My car is being recalled, should I stop driving it until it is repaired?
A recall means there is a safety problem with your vehicle. According to the NHTSA, Ford and Mazda are advising owners of MY 2006 Rangers and B-Series trucks to NOT drive their vehicles. Owners should contact their dealer immediately to schedule a time for a tow truck to pick up their vehicle. A loaner will be provided.
If you must drive your vehicle before the recalled airbag is replaced, some manufacturers advise owners to not allow anyone to sit in the front passenger seat.
If you drive certain 2001-2003 Honda or Acura vehicles, contact Honda at (844) 758-9245 or a dealer as soon as possible to schedule a free repair. The NHTSA advises drivers to only drive these vehicles to the dealership for the repair before driving anywhere else.
How much will it cost to repair my car?
If your vehicle has been recalled, contact your dealer as soon as possible to get it repaired for free. If the dealer refuses to fix the issue as described in the recall letter, notify the manufacturer. You can also file a complaint with the NHTSA.
Every recall is serious. If your vehicle is affected, that means there is a safety issue that should be fixed as soon as possible. To learn more about the recall, visit the NHTSA website.
Maita Mazda is prepared with parts for people coming in to replace their airbags.
"You can call any dealership whether it be the nearest one to you or the one you used to go to before you moved," said Michael Thompson, Maita Mazda. "All you need is the VIN. It doesn't matter if they don't have the updated address we can get it, but with that VIN number we can see what recalls affect your vehicle."
Thompson said for their service center to make an appointment and most of the repairs will happen in a day.
"I would say plan to have the car for us for at least half a day and the repair can take upwards of four plus hours and then from there I've seen them until the end of the day we usually get them back at the same day," Thompson said.