The Takata Recall

Collision Pros Magazine 2018 | ISSUE 4

The Takata Recall


The Takata recall is the largest recall in U.S. automotive history, involving roughly 37 million vehicles from 19 automakers equipped with 50 million Takata airbags—and that number will increase as more vehicles are recalled in the next two years. Affected vehicles have potentially dangerous airbag inflators that could rupture when the airbag deploys, spraying sharp metal fragments inside the cabin.

Over time, these defective airbags degrade, especially in areas with wide temperature fluctuations and high absolute humidity. As more time passes without the vehicle being repaired, owners are at an increased risk of serious injury or even death. Despite automobile manufacturers’ and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) collaborative efforts to alert the public and encourage immediate repairs, only 60% of the affected vehicles have been repaired (NHTSA, 08/03/2018).

It’s possible that some of your customers are driving a recalled vehicle. If your customer owns a Toyota, Scion or Lexus manufactured between 2003 and 2013, the vehicle may be subject to a safety recall for the Takata front passenger airbag inflator or Takata driver’s airbag inflator.


“At Toyota, the safety of our customers is a top priority,” stated Lee Smith, Quality Compliance Field Information Manager, Toyota Motor North America, Inc. “We consider the Takata recall a public safety crisis. Many of the affected vehicles are driven by second and third owners who do not take their vehicles to the dealership for service and are not in our customer database. Partnering with independent repair facilities to help identify these vehicles and inform their owners is critical to ensuring customer safety.”

You can help your customers and build trust by letting them know if their vehicle is included in a safety recall. Take it a step further and show your customer your commitment to their safety—confirm with him or her that you can contact your local Toyota or Lexus dealer to schedule their FREE repair on their behalf. Be sure to ask the dealership about a shuttle, complimentary loaner vehicle, other alternative transportation, towing or pick-up and delivery so your customer isn’t inconvenienced during the repair. The recall repair is free, and there are no hidden terms or obligations. Remember, this safety recall must be completed by an authorized dealership.


You can easily identify a vehicle with an open safety recall by using the Airbag Recall app. Go to the App Store or Google Play to download the app to your smart phone. You can use the app to scan a license plate or look up by Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to see if a vehicle has a recall. You can also visit or contact a Toyota or Lexus dealer to find out if a vehicle is affected.

How to help a customer who has a vehicle involved in the Takata airbag recall.

The app can be used for any make and model of vehicle—it simply reads the license plate number, looks up the VIN and indicates if the vehicle is affected by the Takata airbag recall or if there are any other open safety recalls on the vehicle. It then displays a list of local dealerships authorized to complete the repair for that make of vehicle. Sharing this information with your customers lets them know that their safety is your priority.


Toyota is committed to customer safety, so we’ve produced the “Don’t Risk It, Fix It” handout to share with customers. The handout includes a description of the Takata airbag recall, steps to take if a customer’s vehicle is affected, instructions on how to download and use the Airbag Recall app, and what steps to take immediately to obtain a FREE repair.


Remember: The Takata airbag recall is a public safety crisis. Until all airbags are fixed, owners are putting themselves and their passengers at risk. Toyota is committed to partnering with you to find, inform the owners and repair as many affected vehicles as possible.

More Articles