How to Tell if Your Airbag Has Been Recalled

May 17, 2024Airbag Recalls

Recalled airbags can be dangerous. Tens of millions of airbags sold in the United States since 2000 are subject to active recalls, and if your vehicle’s airbags have been recalled, you will want to schedule an appointment to have them replaced as soon as possible. Defective airbags have caused numerous serious and fatal injuries—leaving drivers, passengers and families in need of an experienced airbag injury lawyer to help them recover just compensation.

How to Determine if Your Airbags Have Been Recalled (and What to Do if They Have)

Fortunately, determining if your vehicle’s airbags have been recalled is pretty simple. All you need to do is locate your car, truck or SUV’s vehicle identification number (VIN) and then search for your VIN on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website.

1. Locate Your Car, Truck or SUV’s VIN Number

All cars, trucks and SUVs sold in the United States have a VIN number. This number is unique to your vehicle, kind of like a social security number in the automotive world. You can find your vehicle’s VIN in several places, including:

  • Under the bottom of the driver’s side of your windshield
  • In the driver’s side door jamb
  • On your vehicle’s title
  • On your vehicle’s registration
  • On your insurance card or in your insurance app

When you locate your vehicle’s VIN, take a picture with your phone or write it down. If you write it down, be careful to make sure that you write it down correctly, as some numbers and letters can look similar (i.e., a zero can look like the letter “O”, and a number one can look like the capital letter “I”).

2. Search for Your VIN on the NHTSA Website

Once you have your vehicle’s VIN number, the next step is to visit the NHTSA’s website. Go to You’ll see that you have the option to enter either your VIN, license plate number, or the make and model of your vehicle. The NHTSA’s VIN database is the most comprehensive and most accurate, so this is why we recommend using your VIN.

Entering your VIN will give you access to all active recalls for your vehicle. From here, you can see if your vehicle’s airbags have been recalled—or if there is any other reason that you might need to take your car, truck or SUV to the dealership.

3. Schedule an Appoint to Have Your Defective Airbags Replaced (if Necessary)

If your vehicle’s airbags have been recalled, you are entitled to have them replaced for free. To get them replaced, you can call your local dealership to schedule an appointment. When you schedule your appointment, be sure to tell the dealership that you are coming in specifically because of your vehicle’s airbag recall.

Why Have So Many Airbags Been Recalled?

At this point, you might be wondering why so many airbags have been recalled. The reason is that most automotive manufacturers do not make their own airbags. Instead, they buy their airbags from another company. For most automotive manufacturers, for a long time, this company was Takata.

Until a decade ago, Takata supplied airbags to most of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers—from Honda and Mazda to BMW and Mercedes Benz. However, concerns about Takata’s airbags started to arise in 2008, and by 2013, more than 2.5 million vehicles equipped with Takata airbags were subject to recalls. The NHTSA launched a criminal investigation in 2014, and that same year it ordered Takata to issue a nationwide recall of its airbags. Several automotive manufacturers issued recalls as well; and, all told, the NHTSA eventually determined that more than 67 million Takata airbags sold in the United States presented serious safety risks and needed to be replaced.

What Happens if a Defective Airbag Fails?

Takata’s airbags are defective because the inflator mechanisms that are supposed to inflate the airbags in the event of a collision are prone to failure. This failure is the result of corrosion, which can either:

  • Prevent the airbag from inflating; or,
  • Cause the airbag to explode rather than inflating properly.

Both of these present serious risks for drivers and passengers involved in serious collisions. Unfortunately, Takata’s defective airbags have already been blamed for hundreds of injuries and dozens of deaths across the United States.

Unless you check to see if your vehicle’s airbags have been recalled, you won’t know whether they are at risk of failing. This is why checking is so important. A defective airbag can fail at any time—even years or decades after its installation. The corrosion that causes failure can get worse over time as well, meaning that the longer a defective airbag is left unreplaced, the more dangerous it could become.

While it is important to get your vehicle’s airbags replaced if necessary, it is also important to know about your legal rights in the event of an airbag failure. While Takata has filed for bankruptcy, automotive manufacturers can be held fully liable for selling vehicles with defective airbags. As a result, if your vehicle’s airbags fail before you have a chance to get them replaced, an airbag injury lawyer may be able to help you recover financial compensation.

Hiring an airbag injury lawyer costs nothing out of pocket, and your lawyer can deal with your vehicle’s manufacturer on your behalf. Numerous victims and families have already filed claims, with the majority of favorable claims resulting in out-of-court settlements. Hiring an experienced lawyer is the best way to protect your legal rights, and if you think you may have a claim, it is best to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

Contact Us to Speak with an Airbag Injury Lawyer for Free

If you need to know more about filing a claim for injuries or death caused by a defective airbag, we encourage you to contact us promptly. To speak with an experienced airbag injury lawyer about your legal rights in confidence, call 866-247-2247 or request a free consultation online today.