“DO NOT DRIVE:” Toyota issues advisory for some older models with recalled airbags

Reporter: Andryanna Sheppard
Published: Updated:

Toyota wants drivers of older Toyota Corollas, Corolla Matrixes and RAV-4s to park their cars immediately. The automaker says do not drive them until the Takata airbags are fixed or replaced.

According to the voluntary recall, the Takata airbags can explode and shoot out metal fragments, potentially hurting or killing people.

This recall impacts about 50,000 cars:

  • 2003-2004 Toyota Corolla
  • 2003-2004 Toyota Corolla Matrix
  • 2004-2005 Toyota RAV-4

Takata airbags have been under a recall for years but because the above listed models are older with, therefore, older airbags, Toyota worries they are more likely to explode.

Takata airbag deploy

The Corolla and Corolla Matrix models are under a separate recall because their airbags can go off without a crash.

Airbags will be fixed or replaced for free but drivers should not take their cars to the dealer. Instead, Toyota says call the nearest one. They will either tow your car to be fixed or fix it on site.

Takata airbag recall background

About 67 million Takata airbags have been recalled over the years because they can explode when deployed, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The company used ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion in order for the airbags to inflate in the event of a crash. Ammonium nitrate can deteriorate over time with exposure to high heat and humidity, causing a metal canister inside to explode and spew shrapnel.

Takata inflators have killed more than 25 people in the United States, including one death in Florida, since 2009. 30 others have died around the world. On top of the deaths, about 400 people have been injured. The deadly, exploding airbags sent Takata into bankruptcy.

Takata airbag

Is my car recalled?

You can check NHTSA’s recall website to see if your car is under this recall or any other recall. You’ll need your VIN number. If you don’t have your VIN handy, you won’t be able to see if your particular car is being recalled but you’ll be able to check for recalls for your car’s year, make and model.

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