A new airbag recall is possible

… and it would potentially be the largest recall in history.
The affected vehicles were made from 2000 through early 2018 by GM, Ford, Stellantis, Tesla, Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Volkswagen.


It’s the old complexity/reliability compromise rearing its ugly head again. Another poster here is currently having a very annoying & time consuming diagnostic problem with their car’s drive-by-wire system, pedal position sensors not matching the throttle position sensors. In my 55+ years of driving, I’ve never had even a minor glimpse of that problem, all my cars have used cable actuated throttles. Likewise, never had any airbag problems, no airbags.

Airbag recall in cars manufactured 2000-2018. Let that sink in for a minute.

Someone actually proposing a recall on a 24 year old car. A car that is now at 3 times its reasonably expected lifespan. Absolutely nuts.

We as a whole need a heavy dose of reality. If you don’t want your 24 year old airbag injuring you, don’t drive a 24 year old car.

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Where is the age cutoff? Should condition have anything do do with exclusion? Let’s pick a number and say that all vehicles 15 years old an newer get the air bags fixed. What’s so different between 16 year old cars and 15 year old cars that the cutoff should be there? There will be far fewer lawsuits if all vehicles using the offending parts are included.

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Seems like there has been renewed interest in Tesla by the feds. Just gotta do anything to kill the industry. I thought the general life span was ten years so I’d be perfectly happy with just disconnecting older ones and be done with it. This is silly and worse.

Sounds perfectly reasonable. Let’s go with that.

Well, the 15 year old car will get new airbags and the 16 year old won’t. When you buy a new car the battery is warranted for 3/36. The engine is warranted for 5/50. Catalyst is 8/80. What’s a reasonable term for airbags? Certainly not 24 years.

There will be far fewer lawsuits if people understand everything has an expected lifespan and quit trying to blame other people for their problems.


Maybe after 15 years we could buy or own at a discount if we wanted. So put up or shut up depending on how important it is to you. I’m kinda afraid of them myself. Hit a deer and blamo, broken nose, ribs, and totaled car instead of just spilling coffee.

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I don’t think it will stop class action suits against the manufacturers and especially the government. That’s my main beef with it.

As long as that can be implemented as safely as never having an airbag in the car is the first place, that seems like a reasonable solution to me for older cars with questionable airbags, better than making this into a courtroom battle. I expect the problem is that there’s no good way to safely disconnect airbags.

Ok, so why aren’t 24 year old seatbelts being recalled? They can’t possibly be as reliable at 24 as new.

Where do you draw the line?

You can’t reliably test accelerated aging of all safety products. You do the best you can and hope some hungry lawyer does’t roll a crippled or disfigured passenger into the courtroom at your lawsuit.

I am all for responsibility of the manufacturer but this is the kind of unreasonable thing that bankrupts companies.


… which is why Subarus come with a lifetime warranty on their seatbelts. Do any other mfrs offer the same coverage? And if not, they should–IMHO.


52 million airbags
5% deployed or 2.6 million deployments
1 fatality and 7 injuries.
over 24 years

Probably more people killed and injured riding amusement park rides in that time span.

Replace all of them because we must have zero risk in a potentially life saving feature?
How many people were saved by those 2.6 million deployments?

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Honda/Acura have traditionally covered any restraint issues that’s not damaged by outside influence.

I understand that high consumer expectations drive improvements in quality and technology. But I can’t think of a single thing in my life (automotive or otherwise) that works as well after 24 years as it did the day it was new. Much less something that gets jostled around daily, gets no routine maintenance, exposed to 100 degree temperature swings, and over which the manufacturer has no control.


I wonder how Subaru handles the… no longer available part … problem.

Someone rolls in with an 87 Brat needing new belts and retractors. Not just a re-web task, but full replacement. New-old stock has a time degredation problem. New stock is just not practical… suppplier tooling scrapped, supplier no longer in business.

Is Subaru going to custom make a new part?

That’s why I replace my vehicles after 10 years or so, despite the fact that they are almost always still in good condition. Similarly, I proactively replace my appliances and water heater after 12 years or so.

To the best of my recollection, they only began the lifetime warranty on seatbelts around 2002, or thereabouts.

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And yet you think it’s reasonable that a company should warranty a wear and tear item that has no maintenance schedule for 24 years?

Some interesting reading regarding “Statutes of Repose” - How Long are Auto Manufacturers Liable for Defects?

I wonder how the conflicts between federal agencies and state laws are resolved? Does a NHTSA recall supersede state laws governing manufacturer liability? Apparently so but not sure…

Actually, I never stated that. I’m just saying that, if Subaru thinks its feasible to provide a lifetime warranty on their seatbelts, I wonder how many other mfrs do the same, in order to be competitive.

Then again, most consumers probably don’t look at warranty coverage prior to purchase, so maybe Subaru doesn’t need to provide that coverage.

In many cases, maybe all, federal law supersedes state law.

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