Is Your Car Safe? Takata Airbag Recall and Kobe Steel Scandal.
Between the Takata airbag recall and Kobe Steel’s falsified data scandal, it has not been good news for the quality of Japanese products, but further, these two issues can affect your car and put your safety at risk.
Follow these guidelines to quickly check if you’re at risk, and to be able to get additional information as it’s made available.
Takata Airbag Recall
2.4 million cars in Australia are estimated to be affected by the Takata recall, and this airbag fault has been confirmed to have led to fatalities and severe injuries. So, what is it, and how can you find out if you’re at risk?
Airbags work by using ammonium nitrate, but issues happen if it’s exposed to moisture. The faulty Takata airbags degrade over time, and in accidents when the airbag deploys, the metal cannister holding the ammonium nitrate explodes sending shards of metal shrapnel outwards, causing in some cases lethal damage to the occupants of the car, if not, severe injuries. Documented serious injuries so far include the loss of eyesight, facial injuries, lacerations to the face, neck and body, severed vocal cords, spinal damage and head injuries that include brain damage. There have already been 19 documented deaths in the United States with far more injuries recorded, and it’s expected these numbers are under-reported as these incidents occurred during car accidents and the airbag fault may not have been identified at the scene.
There are various levels of recall, Alpha Airbags need to be immediately removed and replaced as they can have faults at any age, other airbags are a lower priority replacement, and are being replaced at a slower rate as the faults don’t appear immediately. The first step to seeing if you’re affected is to go to this list, provided by the ACCC/ProductSafety.gov.au. There is also a helpful FAQ to assist should one or more of your vehicles be on the list.
Even if your car is not on the list, stay informed, additional models are being added to the ACCC website as they are identified as part of the recall.
Kobe Steel Scandal
This is breaking news, and more information is going to become available over time as the extent of the product issues are revealed. Kobe Steel has been falsifying data on the quality and durability of their copper and aluminium that has gone into products including cars, trains, planes, rockets, defence equipment, nuclear reactors and more.
As this data was falsified, the true quality and durability of what has been released to market is undetermined, and manufacturers are rushing to identify what this false data means to the safety of their end products. Several car manufacturers have been identified as customers of Kobe Steel with the list set to grow, so far Tesla, Nissan, Honda, Ford, Subaru and Mazda have been identified as using Kobe Steel in their vehicles. Toyota, Nissan and Honda have confirmed they have used aluminium in bonnet and doors, bonnets being particularly important as it impacts pedestrian safety.
What does it mean for you and your safety? We don’t know. Stay tuned. We expect more releases in the future as the extent of the falsified data and the use of the metal supplied by Kobe Steel is made public.