Check Your Airbag NOW: 15 Million Ticking ‘Bombs’ Still Travel Nation’s Roadways

Four years ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a nationwide recall of faulty Takata airbags in vehicles.

Four years later, more than 15 million vehicles, still equipped with potentially dangerous Takata air bags, travel the nation’s roadways.

If drivers haven’t done so yet, they must determine if these ticking airbag ‘bombs’ in their vehicles are part of the Takata recall, warned AAA Northeast.

“It’s problematic that there are still nearly 17 million defective air bags in more than 15 million vehicles on our roadways,” said Fran Mayko, AAA Northeast spokeswoman. “We encourage vehicle owners to take this recall seriously because there’s absolutely no sense in losing lives to a defect that can be fixed for free.”

To determine if your airbag is affected, visit www.nhtsa.gov/recalls, to enter your vehicle identification number (VIN).

Your 17-character VIN appears on the driver’s side dash near the windshield; on your vehicle registration card or on your insurance card. There also is a NHTSA website – https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/takata-recall-spotlight – that details the issue.

If your vehicle is under recall, contact your dealer for a free repair, Mayko said.

The Takata recall involves 19 different automakers and more than 150 model and year combinations.

So far, about 40 million of all recalled Takata air bags have been repaired, leaving about one-third – or 16.6 million – still needing replacement.

The air bags contain a chemical propellant that breaks down over time. The degraded propellant can cause the air bag’s inflator to rupture, emitting metal fragments, in a crash.

Since 2009, at least 16 people nationally have been killed and more than 250 injured by the defective air bag inflators, reports NHTSA.

Although all defective air bags pose a risk, NHTSA says inflators degrade more quickly in regions of high temperatures and high humidity. High-risk states include California, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, and Hawaii. Puerto Rico, Guam, Samoa, Saipan, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. But that doesn’t mean motorists shouldn’t determine if their vehicles have an affected airbag, said Mayko.

AAA Northeast is a not-for-profit auto club with 66 offices in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire and New York, providing more than 5.7 million local AAA members with travel, insurance, finance, and auto-related services. In Connecticut, we serve a half-million members living in is Fairfield, New Haven, and Litchfield counties.