The Takata Corp. air bag recall has become so massive that vehicle owners might wait months for repairs, which leaves many struggling to figure out how to get around in the meantime.
Dealerships are paying for rental cars, but some need to be pushed into offering them, customers complain. And drivers under age 25 or with weak insurance coverage or credit say they are encountering snags when they get to the rental counter.
As the largest automotive recall in U.S. history, the Takata air bag problem is one that owners can’t ignore. Takata air bag inflaters in 28.8 million cars can propel metal shrapnel into drivers and passengers. Ten people in the U.S. have died from such explosions and more than 100 have been injured.
The recall may expand by 85 million cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles if Takata can’t prove that the inflaters in those cars are safe, regulators said last week. Vehicles produced for model years 2000 through 2015 by 16 different automotive brands are among those affected by the initial recalls and the potential expansion.
San Fernando Valley writer Amanda Biers-Melcher contacted her Honda dealership after receiving a notice last month that her 2012 Fit was part of the Takata recall. Biers-Melcher said she briefly thought about borrowing her mother’s seldom-used Saab until she found that it, too, had faulty Takata air bags.
Biers-Melcher said she was stunned when a dealership employee told her she could keep driving her car.
“The letter I got said I could be killed driving it, so that wasn’t happening,” she said. Biers-Melcher said she called up some of her old New York City feistiness and eventually got a referral to a rental car agency, but the process left her upset.
“The first letter about this problem arrived the Friday before Easter,” she said. “Why did it take so long to tell us? They should be pro-actively reaching out to customers and making this as easy as possible.”
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Los Angeles Times
Author: Digital Dealer
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