Long delays in replacing recalled Takata airbags

Last month the Takata Corporation declared 33.8 million air bags to be defective. Faulty inflators inside are responsible for six deaths worldwide and more than 100 injuries.

Lawmakers want to know how the replacement inflators being installed are different so that they won't suffer the same defect, and how long all the repairs will take.

Safercar.gov is the database you can search using your car's VIN to see if your car's under the recall.

Today Ford vehicles were added to the database. BMWs were added yesterday. Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Subaru, and GM vehicles are also now available.

The problem is, getting the information is one thing, getting the part for a fix is a whole other story.

NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind explains, "One of the challenges that's going to come about is with 34 million cars that are probably going to need new airbags, there will be a phase-in process."

Federal safety officials will prioritize by geographic region, saying it wants to make sure those with the highest risk get their cars fixed first.

Amy Ginsburg, a Lemon Law Attorney with Kimmel and Silverman, tells us, "Because the issue is caused by humidity, many of the states such as Florida, Georgia, the Gulf States are going to be getting the parts first to get the recall done."

Which means despite our hot, sticky summer, there could be quite a wait for new parts to get to us.

But you should still take action. If you find through the VIN lookup that your vehicle's airbag needs to be fixed, call your dealer.

If your dealer doesn't have parts, mail a certified letter to the manufacturer asking for an estimated time of arrival.

Ginsburg says, "I'd also be going on social media. Many manufacturers, like any other business, have Twitter feeds. I would go on there and share your experience that you haven't been able to get this part."

And Rosekind says, "If there is any delay, we are encouraging people to ask their dealer or manufacturer for a loaner or rental car so they don't have to worry about this issue."

But Ginsburg says dealers and automakers are not required to provide you a loaner. So you may consider legal action.

"You may have breach of warranty claim or Lemon Law claim if your car's been sitting at the dealership for a significant period of time waiting for a part," Ginsburg said.

If you do continue to drive a vehicle under the Takata airbag recall - listen to this:

Rosekind tells us, "We do know that some dealers are disconnecting the passenger airbags. If that happens, a sticker should be placed on the dash that no one should sit in that passenger seat with a disconnected airbag. We do not believe a driver side airbag should be disconnected at all."
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