Does Your Car Have Takata Airbags? Probably

Parts supplier, Takata, manufactured defective, shrapnel-hurling airbag inflators that need to be recalled. The issue affects 34 million+ vehicles spread out across 24 brands, making it one of the largest (and most dangerous) recalls in automotive history.

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Recalls for days (and years)

The propellent Takata used is exploding with such force that it’s ripping the inflators into tiny metal fragments and shooting them in the direction of vehicle occupants. To make matters worse, the inflators are exploding in low-speed accidents with very little impact.

Which VW Vehicles Have Been Recalled?

Make Model Years Limited To
Volkswagen CC 2009-2014  
  Eos 2012-2014  
  Golf 2010-2014  
  Jetta SportWagen 2010-2014  
  Passat 2006-2010  
    2012-2014 Sedan
  Tiguan 2015  

Volkswagen group also recalled some Audi vehicles.

What are Zones?

Some Takata recalls are being broken down into what NHTSA calls “zones”. A zone is a group of states and territories where a vehicle was originally sold or registered at some point in time. A few notes about zones:

  1. A vehicle can be recalled in more than one zone.
  2. When no zone is defined, the recall was more widespread. Possibly internationally.
  3. If you find this all very confusing, you’re not alone my friend.

So, here we go:

  • Zone A: Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan) and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Zone B: Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
  • Zone C: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

OK, Now What?

This is the ultimate don't take any chances scenario. Whether you think your car is involved or not, there are a few things you can do to make sure. And trust me, you want to be sure.

“Consumers that are uncertain whether their vehicle is impacted by the Takata recalls, or any other recall, can contact their manufacturer’s website to search, by their vehicle identification number (VIN) to confirm whether their individual vehicle has an open recall that needs to be addressed.”

It starts with finding your vehicle indentification number (VIN). There are a few ways to do this – find the tag on the lower driver-side corner of the windshield (best read from the outside). Or grab your vehicle registration or insurance documents. It will be there, scouts honor.

Take your VIN and punch it into NHTSA's VIN lookup tool.

Recall Lookup Tool

My Vehicle Has Been Recalled But I'm Still Waiting

You're not alone. With up to 70 million affected cars (in the US alone) spread out over most major manufacturers there's a huge queue to wait for parts.

Other suppliers are stepping in to increase assembly capacity but there's still a wait for many owners. Make sure to call your local service dealership often to check, but please don't get mad at them if they say there's still a wait – they are just as frustrated as the rest of us.

I'm Concerned About Driving

There are a few options, none of them particularily good ones (sorry).

  • If the recall on your car involves only the front passenger-side airbag, don’t let anyone sit in that seat
  • Minimize your driving (I know this isn't a realistic option for most)
  • Call your local service dealer or automaker and ask about rental options