Takata airbag recall: how to check if you're affected with 1.7 million UK cars still at risk

Data reveals half of affected cars are still to have repair work carried out

Friday, 8th November 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 8th November 2019, 6:01 am
The recall affects 60m cars worldwide and more than 3m in the UK (Photo: Shutterstock)

Almost two million cars across the UK could still have potentially deadly airbags fitted to them despite a mass recall, according to new data.

The faulty Takata airbags have been recalled as they can fire shards of metal into the faces of passengers with potentially deadly results. At least 24 deaths around the world have been attributed to the air bags.

Despite a global recall of vehicles fitted with the Takata airbags, research by Auto Express has found that almost half of affected cars in the UK have not had them replaced.

Analysing data from the DVSA, it found that more than 1.7 million cars in the UK still have an outstanding safety recall to have the airbags replaced, 11 years after the first recall was issued by Honda.

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What is the fault?

According to Takata, the chemicals in the airbags' explosive charge can degrade and become more volatile over time, especially in hot and humid conditions. If this happens, the metal charge can disintegrate on detonation, sending shards of sharp metal flying at drivers and passengers.

The DVSA says that due to the UK’s weather conditions it is considered a low-risk area but it has asked all manufacturers to produce a plan to recall all affected models and replace the part.

Ford is one of 20 manufacturers affected by the recall (Photo: Shutterstock)

What cars are affected?

Multiple models from 20 major manufacturers, including Ford, Toyota, BMW, Volkswagen, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda and Nissan, were unwittingly fitted with the defective airbags, with an estimated 60m cars worldwide affected. Most affected models were built between 2000 and 2015.

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How do I check if my car is affected?

Although manufacturers have issued recalls of affected cars, the Auto Express data shows that half have not yet had the work carried out - meaning one in 20 cars on the roads could still have the deadly component fitted.

If you haven’t received a recall notice from your car maker there are a few methods to check your car’s status.

You can use the DVSA’s online recall checker and enter your car’s registration number. However, delays in updating data means that there’s a chance not all affected cars will appear in the database.

You can also use the Motor Ombudsman’s recall checker and several manufacturers have their own online facility where owners can check if their car is affected. For these you may require the car’s registration number or possibly the VIN, which can be found on the car, usually in the engine bay or at the base of the windscreen.

If you’ve bought a second-hand car and are concerned whether the work has been done you should follow the above steps. It’s against the law for used car dealers to sell a vehicle with an outstanding safety recall but the sheer number of vehicles yet to be fixed means it’s likely many have made it into the second-hand market.

If your car does have an outstanding recall you can arrange for the work to be carried out free of charge at any of your brand’s dealerships. You’ll need to make an appointment and supply problems for replacement parts mean there may be a delay before the work can be carried out.