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Recalled Takata airbags – what you need to know

How to find out if your car is part of the Takata airbags recall

  • The best way to check is by contacting an official dealer for the make of your vehicle.
  • You can also check the government’s recalls website (external link)

What to do if your car is part of the recall

  • The vehicle manufacturer will contact you about bringing your car in for replacement airbags to be installed. They use contact details from the Motor Vehicle Register – check your details are up to date. (external link)
  • If you have any concerns about the recall in the meantime, contact an official dealer for the make of your vehicle.
  • Please note that some cars under the recall should have the front passenger airbag checked as soon as possible. Information on this follows below.

The Takata airbags global recall could affect up to 100 million vehicles worldwide, across around 12 different vehicle manufacturers, so there are delays while replacement airbags are manufactured and replaced to appropriate standards. Many countries are facing this issue.

It’s important to note that recalls happen when there is a potential fault. Only a small percentage of the potentially faulty airbags are likely to malfunction in a crash. However, vehicle owners should act on recall notices to remove the risk, and contact an official dealer if concerned.

 Our advice, and the advice from manufacturers, is that cars under this recall are safe to drive.

How to find out if your car may have had its front passenger airbag disabled

If your car has (or had, to your knowledge) a Japanese sticker or placard fitted to the passenger sun visor like the examples below, it has had its passenger airbag disabled. 

If it doesn’t (or didn’t) have one of these you should do the following:

  1. Confirm it was part of the Takata airbags recall (see above for how), and
  2. If it was imported from Japan, confirm when it was imported into New Zealand. The easiest way to do this is to check the date it was first registered in New Zealand. You can find this on the vehicle licence (rego) label on the windscreen – see the diagram below. 

The Takata airbags recall was announced in 2013. Toyota NZ informed us that the practice of disabling airbags on their vehicles began in 2015 in response to public concerns in Japan about wait times for replacement airbags as part of the Takata recall.

Note: owners of Toyota and Mazda used imported vehicles from Japan can check their licence plate on the Rightcar website (external link) to find out if their car has had its passenger airbag disabled.

We are urgently seeking information from other manufacturers to determine when the practice began for other makes and what records are held about specific vehicles having airbags disabled.

What to do if you’re concerned about potentially disabled front passenger airbags

As above, note this applies if your car is part of the Takata airbags recall and was imported into New Zealand from Japan since the Takata airbags recall was announced in 2013.

  • Contact a motor vehicle dealer for the make of your vehicle for advice on how to get your vehicle checked.

  • As an additional check to see if your car is affected, you can also search your licence plate at the Rightcar website (external link) to see if a note has been added about a disabled airbag. As we receive information from manufacturers where they have been able to identify which cars had airbags disconnected in Japan, we will add this information to individual vehicle records. (Note that because of the lack of information available from some manufacturers, not all cars with disabled airbags will have a note added to their Rightcar entry.)

  • You can also contact the Transport Agency for assistance on 0800 108 809, from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.

We have issued media releases about this and put together more detailed questions and answers – we will update these as more information becomes available. We are working with vehicle manufacturers and their representatives, and importers’ representatives, to gather information.

Media releases issued:
Transport Agency urging checks for disabled Takata airbags
Transport Agency urging vehicle owners to check online database for disabled airbag notices

If you have any further concerns

The best contact is a motor vehicle dealer for the make of your vehicle. 

However, you can also contact the Transport Agency on 0800 108 809, from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.

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