By Samuel Smith
Published: Thursday, August 27, 2020
On August 10, all cars with critical defective Takata airbags were deemed unregisterable on SA roads until fixed.
In a crash, the airbags fitted in these vehicles can cause serious injury and in extreme cases, death.
The South Australian Registrar of Motor Vehicles is now contacting defective-vehicle owners, giving them one final chance to prove they’ve had their airbags replaced. If no action is taken, their vehicle(s) will no longer be able to be registered.
Drivers who’ve failed to fix their airbags now face the hassle of organising immediate major repairs or forking out $419 (plus a $60 Victims of Crime Levy) for driving an unregistered vehicle.
Those who let their registration lapse for more than 30 days will no longer be covered by compulsory third party insurance. This means they could be up for a further $775 and another $60 Victims of Crime Levy.
Takata saga aside, there are still thousands of active vehicle recalls in Australia. Here’s how you can find out if your car is affected, and what to do to get the problem fixed.
The total fine for driving without registration and CTP insurance.
Keep an eye on your inbox and mailbox
Sounds simple, right? Well, it is. When a new recall is issued, one of the first things many vehicle manufacturers do is contact owners of affected cars by email and post, so keep your eyes peeled.
Check the Product Safety Australia website
If you’ve purchased a used car or are worried you may have missed the manufacturer’s original recall notice, check the Product Safety Australia website (published by the ACCC). Any time a vehicle is recalled, information will be published on the transport recalls page. You can also sign up to receive email updates.
Identify your car
On the transport recalls page, search for your vehicle. If it’s not there, great! If it is – time to put your sleuthing skills to the test.
First, check the vehicle listed is the exact make, model and year as yours. Then, check to see if your car’s VIN (vehicle identification number) is listed on the recall page.
A VIN is a unique 17-character serial number – think of it as your car’s ID. You can find it either under the bonnet, at the bottom of the windscreen on the passenger side, or on the inside of the driver’s door.
Here’s an example of a recall page with a VIN list attached. Needless to say, if yours is listed, you’re affected by the recall.
Find out about the defect
Luckily, this vital information is easy to access. It’s clearly listed on your car’s recall page. Make sure you take time to read about the details of the recall and understand the impact it could have on you, your passengers and other road users.
Get the issue fixed
Unfortunately, there’s no universal method for getting a recall fixed. This is why it’s important you read the ‘What should consumers do’ section of your car’s recall page very carefully.
Generally, if the defect could result in serious injury, vehicle owners will be asked to stop driving immediately and contact the manufacturer (if they haven’t been contacted already). They’ll then be directed to their nearest authorised repairer where the issue will be fixed, free of charge.
Other recalls may be time-dependant or dependant on the availability of parts, like this example.
Reporting an issue
If you think your car has a safety issue related to its design or manufacture, or it breaches Australia’s national vehicle standards, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications has developed a self-assessment quiz.
After answering a few short questions about the faulty vehicle, you’ll be directed to the right place to lodge your report.
If you want to check the safety of your car’s airbag, simply head to ismyairbagsafe.com.au and enter your registration number and state.