Massive airbag recall: What to do?

Massive airbag recall: What to do?

Dealers are no doubt fielding questions from customers about the latest, and probably largest ever, airbag recall. As reported in the May 22, 2015 Bulletin, NADA advises dealers to reassure customers that if their vehicle has been recalled, they will receive a notice in the mail from the manufacturer. In the meantime, consumers can go to and look up their VIN to see if their car is on any NHTSA recall lists.

This information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is based on data from the OEMs. At this writing, however, the NHTSA site is not up to date with the vehicles and their airbags affected by the latest Takata recall. So dealers should encourage customers to check the site periodically for updates. Dealers can access NADAês dealer Q&A on recalls by clicking here.

For used cars, NADA recommends disclosing unremedied recalls using a printout from the VIN-specific lookup on

Ideally, it would be good business to run VIN checks on all used vehicles before buying, for disclosure purposes at the time of sale or lease, and periodically while in inventory. The NHTSA site is not currently set for automated vendor access or batch searches, but should be soon.

To put the issue in perspective: Tens of thousands of lives have been saved and injuries avoided by the Takata airbags that now are subject to this recall, which have been deployed without rupture over the past 13 years. According to Takataês Defect Information Report, dated May 18, testing has resulted in an inflator rupture rate of less than one tenth of one percent. Nine of the nearly 12,500 inflators that were tested ruptured, and all nine were from high humidity locations (Florida, Puerto Rico and Georgia).

Any deaths or injuries from malfunctioning airbags are unacceptable, of course, and Takata airbag misfires have caused six deaths and 100 injuries, according to NHTSA.

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