Japanese auto parts maker Takata finally buckled under pressure from federal regulators Tuesday, declaring that nearly 33.8 million vehicles sold in the United State come equipped with airbags that can spew pieces of shrapnel upon deployment. While about 17 million of those vehicles had already been part of recalls by major automakers, millions of others have yet to be identified, leaving consumers wondering if they’re driving around with what some people have likened to an explosive device in their steering wheel.
Unfortunately, those consumers likely won’t know if their vehicle is affected by what is now the largest auto recall in U.S. history for days or weeks, the Washington Post reports.
That’s because transportation officials say they need to conduct more tests and work with automakers before populating a final recall list.
NTHSA posted a notice [PDF] on their site Wednesday advising car owners that “it generally takes anywhere from a few days to several weeks for automakers to gather individual VINs associated with a recall. It is important that you check back periodically as a recall on your vehicle may not show up immediately.”
So far, regulators has complied a partial list of affected vehicles – mostly those included on previous manufacturer initiated recalls.
That list – which can be found on the Post – includes several major models such as the Honda Civic, Dodge Ram, BMV 3 Series, Mazda 6, and Toyota Corolla.
The agency says individuals can check to see if their automobiles are included by entering their 17 digit VIN on the SaferCar.gov website, which produces a list of all recalls associated with a particular vehicle.
However, checking today probably won’t get you very far. An attempted search on the site by Consumerist resulted in the following error message:
An additional check of NHTSA’s recall lookup tool also ended in an error saying the site “is experiencing unusually high volume and may cause delays or disruption in some functionality. If you experience a disruption then please visit later to conduct your search.”
The Post reports that consumers attempting to call their dealerships to glean information about being included in the recall ran into similar issues, with dealers providing conflicting or no answers to inquiries.
Even when people finally have an answer to whether or not their car is on the recall list, those placed on the roster can expect an additional wait before their vehicles are in the clear.
The Post reports that regulators are anticipating it could take months or even years before enough replacement airbags and other parts are available to replace those deemed defective by Takata.
Until then, automakers have advised that individuals can continue to drive their vehicles, despite the fact that the airbags have been linked to six deaths and 105 injuries.
How to know if your car is part of the biggest recall in history [The Washington Post]