Airbag problem: Owners being told front passenger seat unusable for a year or more?

I heard on the radio the other day a car owner had been informed their car was affected by the recall. And that there were no replacement airbags available. And none were expected to become available for a year or more. So the instructions to the owner were that they shouldn’t allow anybody to ride in the front passenger seat.

??? A new car’s front passenger seat remains unusable for a year or more?

Has anyone else heard this story? Or is it just an urban legend?

I’m sure somebody got told that. Not my the manufacturer, I bet!

Only Toyota has done this as far as anyone knows

Wow, I didn’t know that Toyota did that. Worth checking with the dealer. Didn’t hear that for the other makers.

I fully expect that a lot of cars will never have the Recall performed due to delays and some people will get tired of waiting 2 or 3 years or become deathly afraid and just get rid of the cars.

Couldn’t you take the passenger airbag out NOW and reinstall as soon as parts are available? That way, it wouldn’t be any less safe than most cars made before '95 or so…

It could be unplugged in about 3 minutes.

Toyota discontinued the the airbag disablement in February when supply caught up with demand. Now the number of affected vehicles has increased but Toyota hasn’t allowed dealers to deactivate the airbag as an interim procedure.

As far as unusable “new cars”, few new cars are involved with recall. Most are in the 8 to 14 year range. The newest on the list is the 2014 Mustang, perhaps it was a Ford owner on the radio that was dissatisfied. Most should be completed in a year.

An old airbag inflator;

What about the drivers side? no one should sit there either?

That way, it wouldn’t be any less safe than most cars made before '95 or so

And yet they put on a “do not sit here” sticker.
Gotta stroke those lawyers.

30 million Takata air bags, 8 deaths. You’re more likely to die from a lightning strike.

Just take out the fuse and treat your car like the old ones that never had airbags anyway…and you’re still alive.
These Takata airbags will do more damage than none at all…so just don’t run into anything.
Heck I’ve wrecked two old vehicles with no airbags and I can’t see that there would have been any advantage at all if they did. Since then I’ve never see a need in 43 years of driving.

I recall reading somewhere that:
Airbags are relatively useless without seat belts also being used.
Airbags only add about 30% more safety than seat belts alone. I think the 30% number means that many more fatalities.

@BillRussell Yes, on the airbag it says “SRS”, meaning SUPPLEMENTAL RESTRAINT SYSTEM! Airbags were forced on the US public because they simply refused to buckle up, and an airbag by itself is still a little better than nothing.

Racing drivers used seatbelts and harnesses long before they were introduced to the car buying public. I don’t know of any competition vehicle or aircraft that has airbags.

In the 70s we had the infamous ignition interlock, where you could not start the car unless all persons or heavy items were belted in. This insane arrangement was ended by congress itself. It required belting in your dog, bag of groceries or anything the least bit heavy.

@Docnick is right, the Sports Car Club of America makes you REMOVE the airbags from production-based race cars that compete in their races. You cannot take to the track with your 5 or 6 point seatbelts and rollcages with your airbags intact. The same goes for other pro and amateur race organizations.

Just yank the fuse and use your seatbelts. Safer than eating shrapnel in a crash.

@al46 asks above about the driver’s side airbag. That’s a good question. Something I don’t understand. Why is it unsafe to let a passenger ride in the passenger front seat, but it is ok to allow the driver to ride in the driver’s seat? Is there something different about the airbags or how they are arranged between the passenger front seat and the driver’s seat?

So a passenger airbag is different from the driver airbag? REALLY?

Passenger airbags are much bigger, being further away from the person.
Presumably the inflator is bigger too.

The design of passenger and drivers inflators are significantly different. Though some drivers inflators are now involved.

This post reminded me of this old cartoon… (best instance of it I could find)