Honda Australia has issued a critical recall for 55 vehicles across older-generation Accord and Civic model lines as part of the ongoing Takata airbag recall.
"A group of vehicles have been fitted with a complete driver airbag assembly, which has been determined to contain an affected Takata airbag inflator," the company's local division says in its recall notice.
"If owners of affected Honda Accord MY2002, 2005-2007 and Civic MY2006-2011 are advised their vehicle is under 'critical recall’, it is recommended that you stop driving the vehicle and immediately arrange for airbag inflator replacement as the vehicle has a heightened risk of causing injury or death. The critical recall category applies to alpha airbags and also includes other airbags specified by Honda."
"Honda will offer to arrange for your vehicle to either be towed to the place of replacement or for a mobile technician to be sent to the vehicle (or some similar arrangement), so that you do not have to drive the vehicle in order to receive a replacement airbag inflator."
As with previous Takata recalls, the fault revolves around airbag inflators that could degrade over time due to high temperatures and humidity.
If the affected vehicle is involved in a collision that triggers the airbag, the metal inflator housing could rupture, shooting metal fragments through the airbag cushion into the cabin. This poses a serious risk of injury, even death, to the vehicle's occupants.
Vehicles affected by this recall were available for sale between 16 April 2001 and 24 September 2011 – the VIN list is available here.
"Owners of affected vehicles should contact their preferred Honda dealership, Honda via the website www.honda.com.au/recall or call 1800 957 444 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am-6pm AEST) to arrange for a replacement airbag inflator free of charge. You are also entitled to request special arrangements where the circumstances reasonably warrant this or where you will be deprived of your vehicle for more than 24 hours, such as a loan or hire car or reimbursement for alternative transportation costs," the company adds.
The latest ACCC figures show 3.2 million airbags (78.9 per cent) have been replaced during the Takata recall campaign, leaving 600,000 vehicles (14.8 per cent) on the road with Takata airbag inflators still fitted.
A further 6.3 per cent of vehicles originally included in the recall have been written off, scrapped or unregistered for more than two years, meaning they can't have their airbag replaced.
There are 24 reported deaths and more than 260 injuries from faulty inflators worldwide. One local motorist was killed by a Takata airbag in July 2017, while another was seriously injured in June of the same year. The ACCC added some 1.1 million vehicles to the compulsory recall last year.
According to the Australian Government, the risk of a defective Takata airbag rupturing may arise between 6 and 25 years after it is installed in a vehicle. In areas of high heat and humidity, the risk of rupture may arise between 6 and 9 years. Concerned owners can check if their vehicle needs a new inflator at www.IsMyAirbagSafe.com.au.