Action 9

6 million potentially lethal airbags still on the road

There are still hundreds of thousands of cars on the road in Florida right now that could have potentially deadly airbags.

It was the winter of 2015 when we first met David Kaczmarek.  His Ford Mustang had a recalled Takata airbag, and he was waiting for a replacement.

Kaczmarek said then, “I’d rather have no air bag, than a defective airbag that has any chance of exploding.”

That’s right, exploding.  You might remember the defective Takata airbags were part of a nationwide recall spanning dozens of makes and models.  Those airbags were tied to more than two dozen deaths because of shrapnel from the metal inflator that can be ejected towards the face during inflation.

Auto repair expert Jay Zembower told Action 9, “Those generation of cars built in the early 2000s.  The older the car the higher rate of concern you have.”

Now, almost a decade later, there are around 6-million vehicles still on the road with the potentially lethal airbags.  An estimated 300,000 are right here in Florida.  Only Texas and California have more.  Owners may not even know they have a recalled airbag especially if the vehicle has changed hands.

Patrick Olsen with CARFAX said, “Used car dealers are not required in this country to fix a recall before they sell a used car.”

Olsen warns that time is actually making this problem worse with each summer taking a toll on the airbags.  The heat and humidity wear them down and increase the risk that they will explode when deployed.

“And this is the big issue, these cars have been around for so long, that every summer is a new added risk,” Olsen said.  But he added, “The percentage chance of you having a car where that happens is low, but it’s not zero.”

Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and CARFAX offer free services to check your VIN to see if there is a recall.   Check them out to learn if you need a new airbag or if your car has another critical safety issue:

NHTSA:  Check for Recalls: Vehicle, Car Seat, Tire, Equipment | NHTSA

CARFAX: Check for Car Recalls - Search by License Plate or VIN - CARFAX

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