Gus’s Rides

Airbag Recall: Faulty Airbag Means Risky Driving

Written by Gus Wilson

The airbag, you know that device invented to keep a driver in the event of an accident from getting injured or killed with a “soft cushion” of air. It is also to keep the occupants from hitting the not so cushiony dash, or in the driver’s case the steering wheel with a metal bar past the middle of it. The airbag was first introduced in commercial cars in the 1980’s and became standard in 1998 when Congress passed the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 199. Fast forward about twenty years, and almost every vehicle has an airbag aside from pretty much all 4-wheeled vehicles used in some form of motorsports and some factory-built track cars. Most of the vehicles used in motorsports or are from the factory as a “track-car” have some sort of roll cage, roll bar, and harness that you strap into so you don’t get thrown around in the event of an accident.

Now those cars are pretty dangerous, since basically most of the safety systems are taken out to save weight. In normal passenger vehicles that is a standard, although in some countries a car can run without an airbag. Imagine driving along the road and then when you get into a minor accident but the airbag goes off, blasting sharp objects into your face causing fatal injuries. Takata is the company responsible for the recall issue because the airbag will deploy improperly due to a defective inflation system and propulsion device. Now, what seems like a tiny issue actually is a huge problem, because roughly 38 million vehicles are affected in the U.S. alone, which is a huge chunk of what is registered and on the road. Over 39 affected brands are the following; Volkswagen group (Audi and VW), BMW, GM (Chevrolet + 3 other brands owned by General Motors), Chrysler, Daimler (vans), Dodge (now Ram), Ferrari, Fisker, Ford (Lincoln + Mercury), Honda (+ Acura which is their luxury brand), Infiniti (Nissan’s luxury arm), Jaguar, Jeep, Land Rover (as if reliability issues didn’t hurt them enough), Lexus (Toyota’s luxury brand), Mazda, McLaren (yes even the most popular supercar brand has this issue), Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Pontiac (defunct), Saab (defunct), Saturn (defunct), Scion (defunct), Subaru, Tesla (they can engineer a self-driving car but not a safe airbag), Toyota, and Volkswagen.

Is this list really long? Yes. Could it have been shorter? Maybe, but it would leave out some brands with cars still on the road. So now you might be wondering how is my car on that list and there are two ways. The NHTSA has a link to their website where the 17-digit vehicle identification number or VIN which will say if that specific car is being recalled. The second way is to sign up for recall alerts from the NHTSA. My family has gotten a notice from Honda North America that our 2011 Honda Accord has to go to the dealer to be fixed since there are 5 people including me in my family and all of us drive that car. Basically what this means is one of us could get hurt or killed from the airbag going off. Get your airbag fixed because it can save your life and/or another person’s life.

List found on: Article written by: Clifford Atiyeh & Rusty Blackwell

Link to NHTSA VIN lookup tool:


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About the author

Gus Wilson

Reporter and writer for the Gus car's section. I am an aspiring mechanical engineer and automotive journalist that really likes cars. This is the first car or truck oriented section of which I am happy to say that this is being written by a car fan for the community.