KSL INVESTIGATES

Gephardt: How To Know Your Car Is Safe For Holiday Travel

Dec 2, 2020, 6:10 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 10:02 pm
Interior of an automobile or car involved in a vehicle crash with a deployed steering column airbag...
Interior of an automobile or car involved in a vehicle crash with a deployed steering column airbag (Adobe Stock)
(Adobe Stock)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — With Christmas on the horizon, some Utahns may be thinking about heading out on the road again. COVID-19 precautions aside, there could be a deadly risk sitting inside your car’s steering wheel — a faulty airbag.

Since 2014, dealers have been replacing dangerous airbags by the tens-of-millions as part of the largest automotive recall in history.

“63 million airbags have been recalled under the Takata airbag, and they weren’t all issued at one time,” said Emilie Voss of Carfax. “And so, it’s kind of a rolling thing. That’s why it’s critical.”

Voss said millions of the deadly airbags have been replaced, but there are still cars out on the road equipped with them.

Carfax officials estimate 11-million cars have the faulty Takata airbag, but that’s not the only brand under recall.

“We also estimate from available data that there are about 5-million vehicles with open recalls on airbags from other suppliers,” Voss said.

Some faulty airbags have exploded, sending tiny bits of metal flying through the car. Carfax estimates Takata’s airbags have killed 18 people in the U.S. and hurt more than 250.

Now, automakers must alert you if your car is on the recall list. But cars can change hands several times over the years, and car owners can change addresses, so finding the current owner of a recalled vehicle is not always clear cut. So, Voss said, don’t wait for a recall notice to show up in the mail.

“Make sure you check for the open recall and take it into the dealership,” said Voss. “It is an inconvenience, right, to have to take your car and to get work done, but it is free to repair these open recalls.”

So, how do you check your car?

Just grab the vehicle identification number from the registration or from a plate you’ll find at the base of the windshield, then look it up on SaferCar.gov or Carfax.com/Recall.

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Gephardt: How To Know Your Car Is Safe For Holiday Travel