The largest recall in the history of automobiles is about to get even bigger.
Air bag inflator recall just keeps growing
Takata — the Japanese supplier of those infamous airbags linked to more than 200 deaths and injuries worldwide — is now recalling an additional 3.3 million faulty air bag inflators.
It’s all part of the largest automotive recall in U.S. history and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger.
Among the latest revelations are that 15 automakers put faulty Takata airbag inflators into certain 2009, 2010 and 2013 vehicles.
These automakers include Honda, Toyota, Audi, BMW, Daimler Vans, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar-Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Tesla.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which posted notice of the expanded recall on Jan. 6, is expected to receive paperwork from the automakers naming specific models later this month.
Some 34 million vehicles are so far involved in this ever-expanding recall. All told, the NHTSA reports that approximately 46 million defective Takata air bags are on the road, and they can explode when the air bag deploys, causing serious injury or even death.
At least 20 people have been killed worldwide and more than 180 injured from the inflators.
Technical service bulletins can score you free auto repairs
While recalls are a serious matter, there’s another level of car maintenance issue in the automotive world that can actually benefit your wallet.
It’s called a technical service bulletin (TSB) and it’s issued by automakers as they become aware of systemic problems reported by mechanics and consumers.
TSBs generally won’t pose the threat to life and limb that something like the Takata airbag recall does.
Instead, TSBs involve simpler things like changes in recommended tire pressure or lubricants, repair procedures and maintenance requirements, according to Consumer Reports.
The Center for Auto Safety website at AutoSafety.org and also AllDataDIY.com are both great resources for finding out about TSBs. Just enter your make, model and year at either website to get started. SaferCar.gov is also great for this purpose, too.
Meanwhile, Consumer Reports has a write-up about so-called “secret or hidden warranties” that you can get access to when you have a TSB on your hands.
The basic idea here is that when you know there’s an active TSB on your vehicle, you should take it to the dealership and show them the TSB documentation. Chances are they’ll probably already know about the issue.
Dealerships will often fix whatever it is that’s wrong for free or at a steep discount when there’s a documented TSB — even if you’re out of the manufacturer’s original warranty period.