Airbag safety – How to check for recalls and defective airbags

Airbag Safety - How To Check For Defective Airbags

A standard safety feature in cars, trucks, and some motorcycles, the humble airbag is a safety champion on Australian roads and motorways globally. Today, the regular driver’s airbag is often accompanied by a combination of other head, knee, curtain, and side airbags to cushion the body and prevent or reduce injury during a sudden stop or crash. For peace of mind, there are some simple steps that you can take to check that your airbag safety and make sure it’s fit to handle the unexpected.

What happens if my car has a defective airbag?

The discovery of defective Takata brand airbags has spiralled into the largest auto recall on record. It has affected more than three million cars in Australia, including makes like Toyota, Honda, and Subaru, and covering numerous vehicle body types from sedans to hatches to 2-door coupes. The affected airbags have faulty inflator units fitted that can form and launch metal fragments after the airbag is deployed, in some cases leading to serious injuries, sometimes fatal.

If your airbag is being recalled, it’s essential to contact the manufacturer and book your car in as soon as possible so that your airbag can be replaced. It’s free of charge to take your car to the manufacturer or one of their approved mechanics, even if you purchased the car second hand. Taking your car in might be a minor inconvenience, but a faulty airbag can be a ticking time bomb.

How can I find out if my airbags are being recalled?

Take the following steps to check your airbag safety:

  • Update your contact details. Have you moved since buying your car, or did you purchase a used car for sale online from a private seller? If yes, you may not be listed as the contact person on the manufacturer’s books. Call your manufacturer to confirm your airbags are safe and provide them with your details for their records. Even if there isn’t an active recall that affects you now, there may be in the future.
  • Selling a used car that is affected by the recall? The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) requires sellers to tell the buyer if the airbag hasn’t already been replaced. If you have the buyer’s consent, you should also contact the manufacturer to change the car’s contact details.
  • Use the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) search tool online. If you hear about a recall and you’re not sure whether your car is affected, you can use your car’s VIN to find out. The VIN is a 17-digit number usually found on the front of the engine block under the bonnet.
  • Can’t find your VIN? If your vehicle is registered, the Australian car industry has set up a user-friendly online tool at Is My Airbag Safe where you can use your number plate to check if your car has been affected by a safety recall.

Keep an eye out for your airbag dash light

If your airbag system dash light comes on as you drive, or remains on after start-up, there may be a fault in the system or a part might need replacing. If something has triggered the sensors, you may need to have the airbags reset even though they didn’t inflate. Call your dealer or mechanic to have it checked.

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