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Recalled Takata airbags – what you need to know

Alpha type Takata airbags are still subject to recall, even though the completion date for the compulsory recall has passed. Vehicles with Alpha airbags will now fail warrants of fitness (WoFs). For more information, see below.

The Takata airbags global recall, potentially affecting up to 100 million vehicles worldwide across around 12 different vehicle manufacturers, is one of the largest vehicle recalls ever undertaken.

Recalls happen when there is a potential fault and vehicle owners should act on all recall notices.

This page contains information about the Takata recall, particularly Alpha type Takata airbags, and the issue of potentially disabled passenger airbags.

Alpha type Takata airbags

Alpha type Takata airbags are older and have a design fault that means they pose the most severe risk of failure in a crash. There is a risk these airbag inflators may explode, sending fragments at vehicle occupants. Failure of the airbag inflator can cause serious injury or death. A compulsory recall of Alpha type Takata airbags was therefore announced in April 2018.

The recall is still in effect, even though the compulsory recall period technically ended on 31 December 2019 (meaning all affected vehicles should have had airbags replaced by then).

The Transport Agency has taken further action to ensure remaining Alpha airbags are removed from vehicles – affected vehicles will now fail warrants of fitness (WoFs).

Vehicles under compulsory recall can still have airbags replaced at no cost – to find out if your vehicle is affected, check the Vehicle Recall Safety website(external link) and if it is, contact the manufacturer as soon as possible to make an appointment to get the airbags replaced (contact details are on the Vehicle Recall Safety website). Act now, before Alpha airbags cause your vehicle to fail a WoF.

The Vehicle Recall Safety website also has some useful information for importers, because vehicles subject to this recall (that have not been remedied) are still ‘prohibited imports’ and they cannot be registered or sold in trade in New Zealand.

For more information about Alpha type airbags see our updated question and answers.

Alpha type airbags questions and answers
Takata Alpha airbag compulsory recall notice(external link)
Information for importers(external link)
Media release: Vehicles to fail WoF inspections for Takata Alpha airbags from early 2020 – 4 September 2019
WoF fail due to Takata Alpha airbags – advice for vehicle owners [PDF, 40 KB]

The wider Takata airbags recall

The wider voluntary recall of (non-Alpha) Takata airbags by suppliers is still under way. Due to the scale of the global recall, there are delays while replacement airbags are manufactured and replaced to appropriate standards – many countries are facing this issue.

The best way to find out if your car is part of the wider recall is to contact an official dealer for the make of your vehicle. You can also check the Government’s recalls website: www.recalls.govt.nz(external link)

You will be contacted about bringing your car in for replacement airbags to be installed as parts become available. It’s important you act on all recall notices you receive.

We also recommend you make sure your contact details are up to date on the Motor Vehicle Register.

Our advice, and the advice from manufacturers, is that cars under this recall are safe to drive in the meantime, as only a small percentage of the potentially faulty airbags in the wider recall are likely to malfunction in a crash.

If you have any concerns about the recall, contact an official dealer for the make of your vehicle.

Please note there are currently no plans for non-Alpha Takata airbags to affect WoFs.

Product recalls website(external link)
Check or update your details on the Motor Vehicle Register

Disabled front passenger airbags

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, you should check it has not had its front passenger airbag disabled.

Disabling front passenger airbags was a practice that was offered in Japan in response to public concern while waiting for replacement airbags under the global Takata airbags recall. While it was legal in Japan, this modification does not meet New Zealand requirements and poses a safety concern.

There’s detailed information about this on our question and answers page about disabled Takata airbags.

Disabled Takata airbag questions and answers

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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