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Takata airbags recall replacements and buying affected used vehicles


The apparent history of how ‘Australia’ handled the recall is a sad indictment on government and its agencies.

Considering the established danger of the Takata airbags, that the supply chain still struggles to supply replacement units, and that the manufacturers essentially fiddled while their customers could be harmed, one may wonder why those in situ airbags are not disabled until they can be replaced properly, with visible signage applied to the vehicle and that action being registered in the rego systems to keep proper records.

A bit of history and explanation about air bags is here. The main thing is unlike the USA where airbags are primary, they are supposed to be a secondary safety devices in Australia. If a safety device is suspect why is it there?

An answer may be that if government allowed them to be disabled government or manufacturers could be held liable for deaths or injuries that might have been prevented or mitigated if the (even if defective and possibly deadly) airbag had been deployed. It would seem that could be legislated away and be a win-win.

Owners would win by the spectre of being killed by an exploding airbag being removed, manufacturers would win by reducing costs and having a path to address the backlog of vehicles needing remediation until it can be done right… There was a time after seat belts and before air bags, wasn’t there?

There are other issues, but this fiasco got me thinking…


Very appropriate.
There was also a time when some cars had only some seat belts (front only) and others had none at all.

Agree that It does not make what is wrong about the Takata debacle right, however as you suggest there are some other expedient options that could readily reduce the risk of a faulty airbag killing some one still waiting for a replacement.

Perhaps also there be a legislated mandatory trade in value on all venicles that have not been permanently remedied equal to the full retail second hand value of the vehicles assuming the air bags are not faulty. And a requirement the industry fund the costs while preventing the resale of any vehicle not repaired. Or a cash buy back of equal value? Fines in the interim are meaningless and subject to court process.

After all the motor trade industry does not vote and it does not donate to political parties, or does it?

The odds of being killed in Australia by a shark or Crocodile based on recent stats are greater than an airbag. Going into the water is a conscious decision. Driving a car with a potentially faulty airbag or choosing to drive a car with a disabled airbag pending replacement or not driving one are also decisions. Many more of us are exposed to motoring risks daily than sharks and crocodiles. Now rational is the fear of airbags in this context?


This warning article says it all. If you are going to buy a used car from an individual, unlike dealers they have no need to worry you about their outstanding recall notice.

“Private sellers are not subject to the notice because they are not acting in trade or commerce, as per the Australian Consumer Law,” the ACCC spokesperson said.


I recently had my cars airbag replaced as part of the recall issue.
I asked for some sort of proof that the bag had been replaced so that I could make /or have an entry placed in my log book, the service department were taken aback and I had to explain that if I wanted to sell the car i would need proof that the recall had taken place.
After some talking between the front desk of the car yard and the service department I was email an invoice with the costs blanked out.
There should be a legal requirement, because it was a national recall , for some sort of sticker to be placed on the car drivers door pillar that the car has had the air bag replaced.
Would you buy a second hand car if you knew that a lethal air bag was still fitted?


Given what we know about how happy car dealers are to screw customers with bills for not doing anything, it wouldn’t surprise me if some were doing over the car companies as well - charge and do nothing.

I can imagine asking for proof might have worried them :slight_smile:

You make good points all round … no I wouldn’t buy a car with a dodgy air bag, but as you’d illustrated, how does anyone know?


I should have said that it was a reputable Holden dealership so I have confidence that the bag WAS changed.
In saying that I would have thought that Holden had a compliance regime in place for the customer.


I hope so. In the case of a safety device so high profile you’d think they would be rather silly to play games. I’ve had personal experience on a few occasions of what ‘reputable dealers’ are capable of though, and it makes the banks look good :wink: There are good ones though … car dealers, not banks !!

It is a really interesting point though - why is there no evidence of swapout affixed to the vehicle? seems such an obvious a thing to require …


I’m curious to know, has anyone had an obvious sticker attached to a pillar, etc, after an airbag replacement?

My Hyundai i45 was recalled for an engine check after 2% were potentially affected with blocked oil galleries in the crankshaft. Dealership checked, okayed, replaced the oil and filter for good measure, changed the yellow dipstick with an orange one and placed a silver sticker inside the drivers door frame. Any potential buyer would be able to see clearly the recall / inspection was actioned.

I think a sticker should be the least they could do. What was that about Aussie vehicle rego’s??


Good point @V8Snail. I haven’t heard of any such measures, but would be interested to hear from others if they have seen anything like this.


I wonder if the manufacture removes the vehicle (its VIN) from their online recall checks?

There are websites to check if a vehicle is subject of a recall…like these:

This maybe better as a sticker may eventually come off and a future buyer may not know all the recalls a vehicle has been subject to (and whether they all have been actioned by the previous owner).

Maybe someone with a Mitsubishi, Toyota… vehicle subject of a recall *and has been repaired) can try the above websites to see if their vehicle still comes up for the recall in question.


NSW is cracking down on vehicle owners who have failed to get their defective Takata airbags replaced.

It is obviously very hard to protect some people from themselves.

Hopefully this action will go national.



The whole situation is very frustrating. There were/are many people who were put onto waiting lists due to the lack of replacement airbags, and we also have a situation where vehicles have been given ‘like-for-like’ replacements - that’s bound to create confusion. It seems the above article is referring specifically to alpha inflators, I really hope they can track down those vehicles before anyone else suffers a serious injury or worse.


New South Wales has become the latest state to enforce a registration ban on thousands of vehicles fitted with potentially deadly Takata airbags.


On last night’s TV news they said that Insurance Companies may not pay out claims for accidents, to insured motorists who haven’t bothered to get their Takata airbags replaced.
It appears that there are a lot of motorists out there that haven’t bothered, they said.


Might not be so bad if you have a vehicle which was identified early on, but since ‘the industry’ has been drip-feeding notices of faulty bags almost continuously for how long? If a vehicle was listed a year ago then fair enough, but vehicles are still being listed now - how can that be? is this coming as a surprise to manufacturers? why is this apparently an ongoing discovery? Personally, I smell something, and it’s not roses …


We had to wait years before they replaced ours after notifying us, it isn’t always the owners fault that the bag is still waiting to be replaced and many times it is the manufacturer/service business that hasn’t yet actually recalled the vehicle for the actual repair and the owners are left in a waiting pattern for the appointment no matter how many times they ask/complain.


On it goes. ‘4 days ago’ and yet another range affected. It seems the only way to know for sure in a used car made by manufacturers who ever used Takata airbags might be to have a trained tech disassemble the dash and check!


And we are surprised that more are advised on being affected? They were probably cheap, quickly obtainable and readily available in sizings to suit multiple configurations of dash and wheel designs. I know we aren’t all surprised by these revelations by car manufacturers, certainly none on here should be.

Yes the only way a used car buyer can have any confidence is to have it examined by someone to ensure it is safe, I am not sure I would like to pull apart a steering wheel or dash with say a type 1 still in it. I could just think of the outcome as one explodes in the face of the poor new owner who was trying to ascertain the compliance of their vehicle airbag status/type. I don’t think you were suggesting this as a do it yourself but just in case someone took it that way, it isn’t a safe thing to do and get a trained service person to do the check.


That is true! Original post edited for clarity.


I wonder who that would be as I couldn’t imagine there are many specialists out there…it will possibly end up being the manufacturer’s service centres of the same companies who are required to report non-compliant/defective airbags in their car models. They will possibly rely of the technical service bulletins issued by the company rather than individually checking every airbag (and maybe comparing each airbag serial numbers with Takata - assuming that a list of defective airbag serial numbers is available).