WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Wednesday that all Vehicle Identification Numbers or VINs affected by the massive Takata airbag recall are now loaded into the agency's search system by automakers, a major step toward resolving the ongoing crisis.
Now that automakers have identified all of the vehicles involved in the Takata recall, owners of the affected vehicles can check their VINs on the NHTSA Web site using the VIN search tool.
Automakers completed the process ahead of time under growing pressure from the government and legislators. The process of loading VINs at safercar.gov was not expected to be finished until mid-July.
The nationwide recall of certain Takata driver- and passenger-side airbag inflators involves nearly 34 million vehicles and has been blamed for seven deaths and more than 100 injuries worldwide. The defective airbags can rupture, spewing metal shrapnel at vehicle occupants.
The federal government calls it "one of the largest and most complex product recalls in history."
NHTSA is urging vehicle owners to check their VIN number on the Web site and then contact their dealer for a service appointment.
"NHTSA's VIN search tool makes it easy for consumers to check if their vehicle is affected by the recall and to take action in getting the airbags replaced," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement.
NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said during a recent Congressional hearing, "The driving public should continue checking VINs against the NHTSA database, including vehicles that have been previously recalled."
As a next step, federal safety regulators will organize and prioritize the replacement of defective airbag inflators to ensure that defective inflators are replaced with safe ones as quickly as possible.
Edmunds says: Consumers should take a moment and check their VIN using NHTSA's VIN search tool. If their vehicle is affected by the Takata recall, contacting the dealer is the next step.