Listen up, Australia. Your car could have a lethal explosive inside it, and car manufacturers are making it increasingly easy to replace these potentially life-threatening Takata airbags – free of charge – in recall-affected cars. So, why haven’t you had yours fixed yet?
The Australian government set a deadline of July 1 – which has just passed – for every manufacturer to display a complete list of identification numbers for their Takata-affected models. That means you should know by now whether your car is in need of a replacement airbag.
Unfortunately, despite the seriousness of the situation, many manufacturers are still finding themselves pleading with car owners to go in and get their faulty airbags swapped out.
Read next: Takata airbag recall explained
As a matter that could literally translate to life or death (more than 20 people have been killed globally, one in Australia) it’s fair to assume more owners would be proactive about discovering whether or not their vehicle is fitted with a recall-affected Takata airbag. Faulty units could send shards of metal and plastic into the cabin in the event of a crash.
In an effort to show how simple the recall process is, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to document the procedure from start to finish using a 2009 BMW 3 Series wagon as an example.
Our vehicle’s registration number (tied to the VIN) was entered into BMW Australia’s recall website and we immediately found out the car was due for not only the replacement of a faulty Takata driver-side airbag, but also a faulty positive battery terminal.
From there, we entered our contact details and submitted a request for a call back regarding the recall. Within a few hours, we received a call from our nominated dealership (Brighton BMW) offering a repair slot the following week, along with the option of a loan car for the day.
The government insists you must be offered a loan car or reimbursed for replacement transport in the event that your repair takes longer than a day; however the reality is that most repairs will take a few hours.
That said, our car’s repairs took less than a day and a loan car was offered for the duration – so there will be variance between manufacturers dependant on availability, location and policy.
Upon arriving at the dealership for the repair, a valet took the car and offered a coffee while waiting for a service advisor. A short wait later, we were sat with the service advisor who explained the recall and flicked us the keys to a loaner 1 Series. They even asked if they should wash the car – we obligingly accepted.
Toward the end of the day the dealership rang and explained that everything had been taken care of and the car was available to pick up any time before their 6:00PM close.
At the return handover, we received a written rundown of what repairs were performed and were quickly back on our way with the fixed 3 Series. Simple as that.
Of course, every manufacturer and dealership is different so your experience may vary, but the handling seems to be relatively efficient as it is in the interest of all OEMs – and you – to get the affected cars fixed.
Car companies can’t track down every vehicle owner from their end, and some have been impossible to locate and contact. In those instances the prevention of further loss of life relies on car owners doing their bit. You owe it to yourself and your passengers to get your car fixed. It’s easy, we promise.
Check here to see if your airbags need replacing.