Three car brands issue voluntary recalls
Toyota, Mazda and Suzuki issue voluntary recalls for up to 18,000 vehicles built between 1996 and 1999.
Owners are warned to stop driving their vehicles without delay. In response, the three manufacturers will buy back models included in the initiative.
You've probably already heard about the Takata airbag recalls, it made news headlines as it is thought to be the most widespread automotive recall ever.
The problem arises from the NADI 5-AT airbag design. The chemical airbag inflator can degrade over time, allowing moisture to enter the casing due to what the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) calls "poorly attached and inadequate sealing tape".
Once the seal has been breached, the propellent may not function as designed, resulting in a partially, or mis, deployed airbag. These failed airbags have resulted in many deaths worldwide, as well as serious injuries. In addition to potentially not activating, or only partially doing so in a crash, the design can also emit metal shrapnel into the passenger cabin.
Manufacturers have released details of affected models and production years, which include the very successful fifth-generation Toyota Starlet. The ACCC understands Honda and Mitsubishi are finalising their own recalls. Ford, Audi and BMW have already released details of possibly affected vehicles.
You can check to see if your car is affected by the recall by entering your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) into the Product Safety Australia website.
If you're unsure of how to find your VIN, read your owner's manual or contact the helpline listed on the above safety site.
Should your car be involved in the recall, do not attempt to drive it! Contact the manufacturer who will take over, carrying out a free inspection.
Vehicle buy back scheme
Toyota says it will buy back models included in the voluntary recall, as will Mazda and Suzuki. Toyota will also provide "alternative transport options" in the meantime. The companies are also joining with the likes of Audi, Mitsubishi, Honda and Ford in exploring the possibility of extending short-term help for anyone enduring difficulties as a result of the problem. You'll need to enquire with them about "hardship assistance".
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