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The Takata airbag recall is the largest automotive safety recall in history. The only thing worse than the sheer volume of vehicles involved is the nature of the issue. The Takata recall involves front-mounted airbags and a propensity for the devices to spread fragments with devastating effects, leading to injury or death. So what are the specifics of the recall, and how do you know if it involves your vehicle? 

What cars are fitted with Takata airbags?

Shortly after the seat belt button recall that put Japanese automotive supplier Takata on the map, reports of faulty airbags started to surface. However, unlike the seat belt button issue, the airbag recall includes vehicles that manufacturers haven’t named yet. Specifically, the seat belt issue named eight million vehicles across nine marques. While that sounds monumental, the airbag recall has named approximately 67 million airbags in over 42 million vehicles across many major manufacturers.  

An improperly inflated airbag is one of the possible impacts of the Takata airbag recall.
A deployed airbag | Joe Raedle, Getty Images

What year cars are affected by the Takata airbag recall?

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that multiple model years are potentially dangerous. For instance, the agency names the 2001 to 2003 Honda and Acura models with “Alpha” airbags, Mazda B-Series vehicles, and the 2006 Ford Ranger as vehicles that “should be repaired immediately.” Even more ominous, the NHTSA says owners shouldn’t drive these vehicles unless the journey is to a service center to remedy the recall. 

The NHTSA names vehicles as old as model year 2000 and 2001 in the recall. However, it’s more than just models from the early 2000s. Takata filed for bankruptcy in 2017, and the safety recall includes some models with the company’s hardware from 2018. It’s crucial that owners pay attention to notices from their manufacturers for recalls related to Takata airbags. 

How many people died from Takata airbags?

According to Consumer Reports, the faulty vehicles have resulted in 19 deaths and more than 400 injuries in the United States as of late 2021. However, the NHTSA says that the worldwide figure is likely closer to 27. Moreover, CNBC says Stellantis issued a warning to owners of 276,000 Dodge and Chrysler vehicles after three more people died. Specifically, the latest notice pertains to the Dodge Magnum, Charger, Challenger, and Chrysler 300 from 2005 through 2010. 

The Dodge Magnum is one of the vehicles recently named in the Takata airbag recall.
Dodge Magnum Concept | Bryan Mitchell, Getty Images

Can I replace airbags myself?

It is imperative that owners of vehicles with faulty airbags allow professionals to remedy the issue. The NHTSA says that the airbags in question use ammonium-nitrate (like that used in improvised explosive devices) as a base for the propellant without an agent to dry it. The result is an airbag system sensitive to heat, moisture, and degradation. Consumer Reports says the airbags could inflate improperly or send projectiles into vehicle cabins, resulting in injury or death. 

If you suspect your vehicle has an outstanding Takata airbag recall, you should use an NHTSA VIN recall lookup tool. Moreover, if your car needs a recall remedy, you should schedule an appointment with a service center immediately. Each of the major automakers should remedy the recall free of charge.


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