Last Tuesday, Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata Corp. declared that their airbag inflator mechanisms are defective in 33.8 million vehicles, setting in motion the largest auto recall campaign in US history. So far, the company’s defective airbags are responsible for six deaths worldwide, and over 100 injuries.
The event marks a huge victory for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who began putting pressure on Takata last year to declare their airbags defective after increasing reports of injuries and deaths caused by airbag deployment malfunctions. The recalls are said to affect cars manufactured as far back as 2008.
Read on to find out more about this massive automotive recall.
Biggest Automotive Recall in History
Takata Corp. is a major worldwide producer of airbags, seat belts and steering wheels. The company supplies these products to world class auto manufacturers, such as Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Subaru, Honda and BMW—just to name a few.
Unfortunately, Takata is no stranger to recalls. In 1995, the company suffered from a set back after their seat belts were recalled for failing to latch properly. Today, Takata’s airbags are under scrutiny, after reports have surfaced that upon deployment, a metal canister might burst and send shrapnel into the passenger compartment of the vehicle.
Which Cars are Affected by the Auto Recall?
For worried car owners, it may take weeks or even months before Takata knows exactly which cars and makes are affected by the recall. On top of this, it could be years before there are enough replacement parts to fix every vehicle, according to Mark Rosekind, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Although the exact makes affected by the recall are uncertain, students in mechanic colleges should know that Takata has already estimated that the most likely companies are: BMW, Chrysler, Daimler Trucks, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota.
Other Automotive Recalls in the News
In February of last year, General Motors had a highly publicized recall of 2.6 million cars for faulty ignition switches. The recall required thousands of car owners to bring their vehicles in for inspection by an automotive service advisor, as the faulty switches could shut the engine off during driving and prevent airbags from inflating during collisions.
Aside from the General Motors recall and the Takata recall, the next biggest recall in North American automotive history was in 1996, when Ford recalled 7.9 million vehicles due to faulty ignition switches as well. In this case, the switch had the potential to short circuit and cause a fire in the steering column.
If you’ll be graduating from an auto mechanic course soon, you should be sure to start following the news about auto recalls. There’s no doubt that you’ll be servicing cars that have been affected by a recall, and the more you know, the more prepared you can be.
How can an auto garage prepare to handle a massive auto recall?