Recall Reminder: Check Your Airbags

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More than 2.3 million vehicles in Australia have been included in a recall of airbags made by Japanese manufacturer Takata in the last eight years. The airbags are in 60 makes of cars sold in Australia, including Honda, Toyota, BMW, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Lexus, Jeep, Nissan, Chrysler, and Dodge.

Here's how to check if your car's airbag has been recalled.

productsafety.gov.au is where you should visit.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says we should not ignore or delay responding to a letter from car manufacturers or retailers asking to have airbags replaced, as the airbags degrade over time and can become lethal by misdeploying and firing metal shards.

The ACCC is currently urgently seeking information from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development and car manufacturers regarding Takata airbags. Recently a man in NSW was tragically killed when his airbag misdeployed, and a woman in the Northern Territory suffered severe injuries from her airbag after a crash in April.

In Australia, 850,000 cars have already had their airbags replaced. Further vehicles will be added to the recall over time.

The ACCC says due to the availability of stock worldwide, retrofitting issues and the availability of authorised technicians able to fit airbags, progress on the recall was initially slow but is improving over time as stock becomes available. Car manufacturers say there is now sufficient stock available for affected cars to be fixed.

Some cars have already had their airbag replaced with one treated with a water-absorbing chemical designed to address the problem, but these may also degrade over time. This means some cars subject to the recall may need have to have their airbags replaced again in around six years' time.

"Car manufacturers and retailers must let consumers know when they are having their car’s airbag replaced what type of airbag it is being replaced with, and if it is likely to be the subject of another recall down the track," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said..

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development is responsible for motor vehicle safety standards and is monitoring the recall.

"We're seeking information from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development as to exactly what information it is requiring car manufacturers and retailers to give consumers about their car's airbag, including the likelihood of the airbag being replaced again," Mr Sims said.

"We would have very serious concerns if manufacturers were found to be misleading consumers about their car's safety in breach of their obligations under consumer law."

The ACCC's advice is not to panic, but to visit the Product Safety Australia website to see if your car is affected by the recall and if it is, to contact your car's manufacturer immediately.

If you have already had their airbag replaced, you should contact their manufacturer for advice as to what kind of airbag it was replaced with and how long it is expected to last.

The ACCC says it will closely examine the current recall strategies employed by DIRD to ensure each manufacturer is complying with its obligations under the Australian Consumer Law.

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