Takata Airbag Recall

If you drive a Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru or a Toyota, you might have heard about the airbag recall. You may have even received a notice from your dealer. The Takata airbag recall has exceeded 34 million vehicles recalled in the United States alone.

If you received a notice, call your dealer to schedule an appointment. While some of the dealers still have pretty long wait times, many will be able to schedule replacement within a few days, often less than a week.
Takata airbags have been found to deploy with too much force, sending shrapnel into the interior of the vehicle. This is apparently due to moisture getting into the inflator and destabilizing the chemical compound responsible for the explosion that inflates the airbags – due to the moisture, the compound is more explosive than intended.

Bottom line – if you got a recall notice, call your dealer to get a free replacement. This work is done by dealers and is free of charge. Not quite sure if your car should have the airbags replaced – you can check your VIN here – this is a site provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – you can check if your car has had incomplete recall work done within the last 15 years.

Is your new Audi, BMW or Subaru burning too much oil?

Consumer Reports just released a result of its annual survey of car owners. One of the surprising results was that some newer cars (2010-2014) consumed as much as a quart of oil per month.

Such oil consumption is considered normal in older cars – those with over 100,000 miles – but for newer cars to be burning oil at that rate is unusual to say the least.

Consumer Reports went one step further, and called on the car makers to repair these cars under the powertrain warranty or to extend warranties.

Models most likely to experience this problem are:

Audi A3, A4, A5, A6 and Q5

BMW 5, 6, and 7 Series and X5

Subaru Outback, Legacy, Forester and Impreza

An article by AP cites Audi spokesman Bradley Stertz saying that “a class action lawsuit against Audi over oil consumption by the 2.0-Liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines is close to being settled without the company admitting liability or wrongdoing.”  The settlement affects 2009 A4, 2010 A4 and A5, and 2011 A4, A5 and Q5 models.

Various Toyota models manufactured between 2006 and 2011 have also been flagged for burning too much oil. The models include Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Solara, Toyota RAV4, and Scion (made by Toyota). Toyota Prius is also known for burning quite a bit of oil, sometimes as much as a quart every 2000 miles.

Lawsuits notwithstanding, whether these companies admit liability or not, if you drive one of their cars, do check the oil regularly, and keep an extra quart in the trunk, just in case.