43 million Takata airbag inflators have been recalled. But fewer than 17 million have been repaired, according to the latest numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
That number is not nearly enough according to car forensics expert Bill Williams.
“There's still too many vehicles on the road that haven't been repaired yet,” Williams explained.
Williams’ company, Wisat, has tested nearly 200 Takata inflators. The South Carolina company conducts investigations for law firms that represent victims in Takata lawsuits.
At least 16 people have been killed, and dozens injured, after Takata inflators allegedly malfunctioned in accidents where the airbag deployed.
Williams says Honda has had the most incidents involving fatalities but there is a potential issue for all of the cars on under the recall.
He also says the cars with the highest risk have the lowest rate of completion.
“The older ones, (are) the ones that have the highest risk of rupture based on current testing,” Williams says.
He says model years 2001 through 2006 are a priority to get replaced as soon as possible. But because cars in that age range often don’t go to dealers for service or aren’t with the original owners, there has been a lag in getting the word out to those who need it most.
“They (dealerships) have the parts on the shelf waiting for these people to come in,” he says.
Parts are widely available for older cars. But newer cars — 2010 and younger — may not be available yet, because older air bag inflators are the priority, according to Williams.
But, the older the car gets the higher the risk becomes — so it’s important to get the fix once it is ready. That means checking your VIN with NHTSA and the car makers website to confirm whether or not your car is under recall. Once you do that, call to find out if your parts are ready. If they are not, insist that you be notified when they are.