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Automotive

What to do if your car is on the Takata airbag recall list

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In 2013, the first of tens of millions of Takata airbags were recalled for their potential to inflate catastrophically and send shrapnel into passengers. Since then, the Takata airbag recall has grown into the largest in American automotive history, and defective airbags have reportedly killed 11 people and injured over 180. 
Even though the recall started about four years ago, if you find your car on this list and you haven’t had the recall repair performed, you should contact a dealer immediately. If you happened to buy a used vehicle on the list after the recall started, it’s still a good idea to run the 17-character Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s online tool to see your recall is still open. If you’re not sure what a VIN is, this guide can help.

If the VIN lookup shows that your vehicle has the recalled airbags, call a local dealer and get it fixed for free. It doesn’t have to be the dealership where you bought the car, nor does it matter that your vehicle is out of warranty; the work will still be performed free of charge.

Regardless, the danger is real, and if you’ve got recalled airbags and your dealer won’t give you a loaner, Consumer Reports suggests carpooling, using public transit or renting a car due to the risk involved. One thing no one recommends, however, is fixing it yourself. A junkyard airbag will leave you at square one.


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