The Australian Government has issued a compulsory recall notice on Takata airbags. Suppliers and manufacturers are required to replace all affected airbags by 2020. A subset of Takata airbags called 'Alpha' are being recalled immediately as these have a substantially higher incident risk rate with a 1 in 2 chance of not working properly.
Why are the airbags being recalled?
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) believe the Takata airbags have a manufacturing flaw as they were not produced to design standards.
Metal fragments and shrapnel may propel out of the airbag and into vehicles causing serious injuries or death.
What should I do?
You need to take immediate steps to have the airbags replaced if your car has an 'Alpha' airbag installed.
How do I find out if my car if affected by the recall?
You will receive one of the following three messages:
- your vehicle is affected
- your vehicle is not affected
- your vehicle status is unknown
Vehicles affected - models sold between 2001 and 2004
If the airbag is affected and needs to be replaced, you will find a link on the page which will direct you to the vehicle manufacturer's website (for example Nissan or Honda) where you will find out if the vehicle status is:
- critical (Alpha)
Follow the instructions on the vehicle manufacturer's website.
Do I have to get the airbag replaced?
Yes - this is a compulsory recall by the Australian Government. Do not ignore recall notices sent to you even if you have already had an airbag replaced (whether by the manufacturing recall or following deployment of the airbag in a collision).
- There may be a need for another airbag replacement
- Some vehicles may have driver and passenger side airbags which need replacing and may be done at different times
- An airbag replaced after a crash may have been fitted with a defective Takata airbag
Will replacing the airbag cost me anything?
No - replacing the airbag is free of charge. If you think you've been charged you can make a report to Product Safety Australia (external link)
Can I drive the vehicle if the airbag has not been replaced?
Drivers are encouraged not to drive the vehicle
Suppliers must offer to arrange for the vehicle to be towed to a repair place if you don't want to drive the vehicle.
Loan car - this applies to Alpha airbag replacement only. If you are required to leave the car with the repairer for more than 24 hours, the supplier must:
- organise a loan or hire car, or
- offer to fund or provide reasonable alternative transportation
Customers with special circumstances
Suppliers must offer to make special arrangements if you have reasonably warranted special circumstances including:
- being elderly, infirm or disabled
- if you are located more than 250kms from the nearest place of replacement
- if you are located on an island which does not have a dealer in the supplier's dealer network or another qualified repairer authorised by the supplier
Buying and selling cars
Can I sell my car or buy a car if the airbag has not been replaced?
Yes - at this stage. However the Registrar of Motor Vehicles (the Registrar) has formed the opinion that a vehicle with a high risk Alpha bag is not roadworthy. The Registrar is putting in place the necessary processes to suspend registration of vehicles with Alpha airbags that have not been replaced when the opportunity has been provided to the consumer who has chosen not to comply.
I bought a secondhand car and just received a letter about the recall. What should I do?
You should go to www.ismyairbagsafe.com.au (external link) and check if the vehicle is affected by the recall. Follow the instructions on the webpage.
Cars brought from a motor vehicle dealer
Businesses must not sell cars under active recall before having the Takata airbag replaced. If a car has been sold to you before the airbag has been replaced, make a report to Product Safety Australia (external link).
Private sellers are not required to tell you about the recall before sale. If you are considering buying a secondhand car from a private seller you should first check www.ismyairbagsafe.com.au (external link)