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Eight Million Car Owners Urged to Replace Defective Air Bags Immediately

Oct 23, 2014

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urged owners of nearly 8 million cars with potentially faulty airbags to “act immediately” to replace them. The air bags, which can explode even after a minor accident, are responsible for at least three deaths and more than 100 injuries.

NHTSA recommends that owners of 7.8 million Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors models replace air bags supplied by Japanese manufacturer Takata, Time reports. But though NHTSA urges owners to act immediately because of the danger, some dealers say it will be months before they can do the repairs, according to the New York Times. A dealership in Hawaii told the owner of a 2003 Corolla that there was a 90-day backlog for the parts necessary to replace the air bag in his car. Some owners are even considering deactivating the air bags until they can be replaced.

NHTSA said the situation is especially urgent for owners in Florida, Puerto Rico, areas near the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Louisiana, as well as Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii, where the problem appears “related to extended exposure to consistently high humidity and temperatures,” according to NHTSA’s press release.

Car owners who are uncertain whether their vehicle is included in the Takata recalls, or any other recall, should visit the manufacturer’s website to search, by their vehicle identification number (VIN) to confirm whether their vehicle has any open recalls. Owners who have been contacted by their car’s manufacturer should contact their dealer’s service department and to arrange for the repair, NHTSA says.

Consumers can sign up for NHTSA recall alerts, which go out before the manufacturers mail recall letters.

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