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Old 8th September 2019, 17:41   #1
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Default Takata airbag recall - Why is Toyota replacing just the passenger-side airbag, and not the driver's?

We have two family cars, a Toyota Corolla Altis and a Honda Jazz. As you might know, both of these otherwise reliable cars came with Takata airbags installed.

Now when the airbag recall was initiated, Honda took its sweet time but eventually replaced both the driver and passenger side airbags. With Toyota though, only the passenger side airbag inflator was recalled. I thought that this must be a part of a staggered approach given the overwhelming volume of the recall. Unfortunately, they haven't recalled the driver side airbag even several years after the passenger side one.

It makes sense to replace both airbags if they are of the same make and have witnessed similar conditions (humidity etc.). Interestingly, Toyota's US recall also seems geared towards the passenger side airbag. (https://www.toyota.com/recall/takata), with only RAV4 being recalled for driver side airbag.

Anybody in the know if Toyota intends to replace the driver side airbag? Or if you know why Toyota considers them safe? NHTSA investigations seem to cite reports of both passenger side and driver side airbags not working (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-t...0EM0F620140611).


The service centre folks were unable to give an explanation so I'm now waiting to hear back on my email sent to Toyota.

Last edited by ricky_speed : 8th September 2019 at 17:56. Reason: Added sources
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Old 9th September 2019, 10:48   #2
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Default Re: Takata airbag recall - Why is Toyota replacing just the passenger-side airbag, and not the drive

I am not sure, but maybe the faulty unit is used only on the driver side, that might be the reason why only that's being recalled and replaced. Don't think they will do this job in a staggered approach since that would mean double the time and labor spent on recall.
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Old 9th September 2019, 11:41   #3
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Default Re: Takata airbag recall - Why is Toyota replacing just the passenger-side airbag, and not the drive

The driver & passenger airbags are different "product items" generally. Different design, size & packaging. So quite sure the explosive inflation device that is cause of the recall is also a different spec unit in both airbags. Only the unit that is found faulty being replaced is logically correct & no problem if Toyota takes this approach judiciously really. Perhaps the explosive charge used by Honda on both sides is the faulty one while Toyota uses different designs. So Honda is replacing both and Toyota isn't. I'm just guessing here.

Staggering the replacement of driver & passenger airbags in 2 steps just for volume management will be bad PR as well as inefficient use of resources. Most importantly - it will get Toyota in more lawsuit troubles once customers start filing cases saying "My spouse is now safe but Toyota wants me to die still!".

Last edited by Reinhard : 9th September 2019 at 11:46.
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Old 9th September 2019, 11:46   #4
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Default Re: Takata airbag recall - Why is Toyota replacing just the passenger-side airbag, and not the drive

My Honda city airbags were also replaced under recalls. However they were replaced one at a time, separated by many months. In the initial recall no indication was provided that there could be another replacement done.
When questioned, the dealer did not have much information as to why this would be the case.
It is possible that they have only sourced one set of airbags at the moment and have decided to go ahead with that.
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Old 10th September 2019, 13:30   #5
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Default Re: Takata airbag recall - Why is Toyota replacing just the passenger-side airbag, and not the drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by ricky_speed View Post
...they haven't recalled the driver side airbag even several years after the passenger side one.

It makes sense to replace both airbags if they are of the same make and have witnessed similar conditions (humidity etc.). Interestingly, Toyota's US recall also seems geared towards the passenger side airbag. (https://www.toyota.com/recall/takata), with only RAV4 being recalled for driver side airbag.
Toyota is apparently replacing Takata airbag inflators with a non-Takata product in some models of their cars, and it may be that there are not enough of the products available to carry out replacements on both airbags at this time.

Quote:
December 12, 2018: Toyota says it will install new, non-Takata airbag inflators in select 2003-2005 Toyota Corolla small cars, 2002-2005 Toyota Sequoia SUVs, 2003-2005 Toyota Tundra pickup trucks and 2002-2005 Lexus SC cars. A Toyota spokeswoman says that this action is being done a year ahead of schedule, because it has the replacement parts it needs to do the work now.
Source
Quote:
12/13/18: Toyota has announced a repeat recall for some 65,000 vehicles that had previously been recalled to replace their Takata passenger-side airbags. The replacement airbags were also made by Takata, although with a different kind of propellant, but the automaker has determined there is still risk that they could rupture unexpectedly. Toyota will replace them again with "an improved one produced by non-Takata suppliers." The affected vehicles are 2002–2005 Lexus SC430 and Toyota Sequoia and 2003–2005 Corolla and Tundra models. Owners will be notified in January.
Source
Some reports seem to indicate that only the passenger airbag inflator module is susceptible to moisture ingress and resultant degradation, leading to explosion on deployment, and resultant injury/death.
Quote:
Recall Number
18V025000
Recall Date
01/09/2018
Component
AIR BAGS:PASSENGER SIDE FRONTAL

These vehicles are equipped with certain air bag inflators assembled as part of the passenger frontal air bag modules used as original equipment or replacement equipment. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the passenger frontal air bag, these inflators may explode due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling.

Consequence
An inflator explosion may result in sharp metal fragments striking the driver or other occupants resulting in serious injury or death.

What Owners Should Do
Toyota will notify owners, and dealers will replace the passenger frontal air bag assemblies with an alternate inflator, free of charge.
Source
OTOH, when recalls involve both airbags, the potential fault appears to be different:
Quote:
Recall Number
13V029000
Recall Date
01/30/2013
Component
AIR BAGS

The supplemental restraint system (SRS) circuits are susceptible to internal shorting. The electrical short may create an abnormal current flow and increased heat which can damage the circuits. This could result in an inadvertent deployment of the front airbags and/or seat belt pretensioners.

Consequence
Inadvertent deployment of the airbags or the seat belt pretensioners may increase the risk of injury and the possibility of a vehicle crash.

What Owners Should Do
Toyota will re-notify their owners who have already had their vehicles repaired with a noise filter, but did not receive a new airbag control module, and General Motors will re-notify theirs. Dealers previously installed a supplemental harness containing an electrical filter between the airbag control module and its wire harness, free of charge. Dealers will replace the airbag control module, free of charge.
_________________________________

Recall Number
15V043000
Recall Date
01/28/2015
Component
AIR BAGS:FRONTAL

Due to electrical noise, a component in the air bag control module may fail, causing the front air bags, side air bags, and/or seatbelt pretensioners to deploy inadvertently while the vehicle is being operated.

Consequence
Inadvertent deployment of the air bags or the seat belt pretensioners increases the risk of an injury or crash.

What Owners Should Do
Toyota will notify their owners. Dealers will replace the air bag control module, free of charge. The recall began on August 24, 2015.
Source
So IMO, whether both airbags are being replaced, or just the passenger side module, should be dependent on the type of fault the installed units are known to have, by the vehicle and airbag manufacturer.

Just FYI, my daughter's 2006 Toyota Yaris was recalled last year and both airbags were replaced free of cost.

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 10th September 2019 at 13:33.
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Old 10th September 2019, 23:29   #6
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Default Re: Takata airbag recall - Why is Toyota replacing just the passenger-side airbag, and not the drive

Quote:
Don't think they will do this job in a staggered approach since that would mean double the time and labor spent on recall.
In the US they even removed the faulty airbag and affixed a "Do not sit here" sticker on the dashboard in front of the passenger seat until they could get hold of the replacements.

Quote:
"My spouse is now safe but Toyota wants me to die still!"
The scale of the recall is huge . Plus it isn't exactly as convenient to put a 'do not sit' sticker on the driver side :P

Quote:
My Honda city airbags were also replaced under recalls. However they were replaced one at a time, separated by many months. In the initial recall no indication was provided that there could be another replacement done.
Exactly my experience with Honda. Perhaps this is the reason I excepted a second recall to come from Toyota.

Quote:
So IMO, whether both airbags are being replaced, or just the passenger side module, should be dependent on the type of fault the installed units are known to have, by the vehicle and airbag manufacturer.
Thank you for all the research! I'm hoping this is indeed the reasoning. It'd be great to know more about the design differences between the passenger and driver side airbags. Without that information, there's always a feeling of uncertainty lingering. After all it's a Takata airbag too.

Quote:
Just FYI, my daughter's 2006 Toyota Yaris was recalled last year and both airbags were replaced free of cost.
That's great to know. Perhaps the car was registered in a less humid area for a 2006 model recall to have happened as recently as last year. But it strengthens the theory that Toyota is not going with a staggered approach.
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