This is huge! In fact, with 34 MILLION cars now involved, this is the biggest auto safety recall ever. Worse yet, cars involved could be up to 15 years old. If you bought your car used, or if you've moved since you got it, there's a chance you might never be notified if your car is part of the recall. But follow along and I'll show you how to find out if your car is part of this massive recall.
Recalls on vehicles are nothing new. A manufacturer might find that a certain part on a specific model wears out faster than expected and decides to replace it for everyone. Sometimes, the problem can be something more urgent and dangerous, like the exploding tire recalls of the '90s.
However, this latest recall tops any one before it. Not only is it the biggest auto recall, it could be the biggest recall in history.
It has to do with airbags, which are not something you want a defect in. However, this problem isn't about the airbags not going off, it's what happens when they do go off.
These airbags have a defect that can set them off unexpectedly, and worse, they can fire deadly shrapnel at the people in the car. At least six deaths and more than 100 injuries worldwide have been linked to these airbags. Imagine that, something installed in you car to keep you safe can be deadly!
The airbags are made by a company called Takata and it supplies the units to a lot of car companies, including BMW, Chrysler, Daimler Trucks, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota.
Even worse, the defective airbags have been around for a long time. That's why the recall is eventually expected to top a staggering 34 million cars.
The cause of the defect isn't 100% clear, but the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration thinks it's related to moisture.
Testing and investigation by Takata, auto manufacturers, and independent researchers have not yet established a definitive root cause of the inflator malfunctions. NHTSA’s analysis of test results and engineering reports from independent organizations points to moisture infiltrating the defective inflators over extended periods of time as a factor.
Over time, that moisture causes changes in the structure of the chemical propellant that ignites when an air bag deploys. The degraded propellant ignites too quickly, producing excess pressure that causes the inflator to rupture and sends metal shards into the passenger cabin that can lead to serious injury or death.
Arizona's 4% humidity is starting to look more attractive than ever.
The full list of affected cars isn't out yet, but Takata and the NHTSA are working on it. You can check to see if your car is affected at Safercar.gov. The site notes that you'll want to keep checking regularly since it might take a few weeks for your vehicle to get into the system. You can also call up a dealership for your car's manufacturer later this week and they should be able to tell you if you have an affected model.