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Honda asks owners to stop driving some cars with Takata airbags

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Chris Teague

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It has been well over a decade since the first Takata airbag recall, but we’re still seeing more models added to the list. Honda, the first automaker to issue a recall, recently issued a “Do Not Drive” warning for thousands of its older models in the U.S. due to unrepaired airbag inflators.

Honda advised owners of 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles to stop driving until they could get an airbag replacement. The improperly manufactured Takata airbag inflators can rupture when activated, especially after years of exposure to heat, humidity, and vibration. When that happens, the exploding inflator can send metal shrapnel toward the passengers inside the vehicle at extremely high speeds. Honda’s recall totals eventually grew to include 2.5 million vehicles built between 2002 and 2004, but it appears that 8,200 of them slipped through unfixed.

This new warning covers the 2001-2003 Honda Accord, CR-V, Civic, and Odyssey. The Acura 3.2CL and 3.2TL from those years are also included. The automaker warned that “the risk to vehicle occupants is dire,” which is likely true. While many recalls catch problems before they become fatal, more than 30 people have died and hundreds injured since 2009. The NHTSA noted a 2022 death of a Kentucky driver in a 2002 Accord due to a Takata inflator. 

The Takata airbag recall was and is the largest safety recall in history. Tens of millions of units have been recalled here, and more than 100 million globally. The 8,200 Honda and Acura straggler vehicles that haven’t been repaired aren’t out there due to automaker negligence. Honda noted that its efforts to reach owners included more than 18.3 million notifications, such as calls, letters, emails, and even in-person visits.

Frequently asked questions

Do recalls cost money to fix?

No. If your car is involved in this recall, the dealer will fix it free of charge. You may also be eligible for reimbursement if you incurred expenses due to the recall.

Are airbags safe?

Airbags alone won’t save your life, but when used with seatbelts, airbags can be one of the most essential life-saving features in a vehicle. That said, it’s recommended that children ride in the back seat to avoid injury from airbag inflation.

What are advanced airbags?

Originally, airbags deployed the same way, regardless of who was sitting in the seat. The deployed airbag often injured children and others that were not ideally positioned. Advanced airbag systems can change how they deploy to provide the best protection without injury.

Is my car totaled if the airbags deploy?                                                                      

While airbag deployment can signify that a crash is more severe than a simple fender-bender, that alone does not automatically total a car. A total write-off (being totaled) means the repair costs exceed the value of a vehicle. 

How much does it cost to replace an airbag?

Assuming you’re not having it replaced under a recall, an airbag replacement can cost $1,000 or more. Depending on the fix, some replacement bills can reach several thousand dollars. 

Can I drive my car after the airbags have been deployed?

It might be unpleasant and smell funny in your car, as airbag propellant has an awful odor, but it’s entirely possible to keep driving after an airbag is deployed.

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