Nissan, Toyota and Honda recall vehicles in South Africa

By Staff Writer
A number of car manufacturing companies made it into the news after it was found that certain vehicles had a problem with the deployment of airbags in an accident. Nissan, Toyota and Honda cars were being recalled following the discovery of a problem with the Takata airbags inflator that all of these cars have installed.
 
Nissan is recalling the Nissan Almera, manufactured in South Africa between 2004 and 2007. Toyota is recalling the Corolla, Yaris and Run-X manufactured from 2002 to 2007 for the passenger front airbag inflator, as well as the RAV4, Hilux and Fortuner manufactured from July 2003 to December 2005 for the driver front airbag inflator, while some Honda cars, it has been reported, need to be recalled too.

However, at the time of publication Honda South Africa has said that it is not yet clear whether or not the recall will affect South Africa.

A spokesperson for Honda South Africa told Justmoney: "At this stage, we are still waiting to hear from head office whether SA is affected. "
 
The recalls
 
According to Toyota, the reason for the recalls is that “certain types of airbag inflators manufactured by Takata were found to have a potential for moisture intrusion over time. As a result, they could be susceptible to abnormal deployment in a crash. The relationship of moisture intrusion, if any, to the risk of inflator rupture is not known.”
 
Clynton Yon, product communications manager at Toyota South Africa, highlights that the recalls are simply a precautionary measure. He adds: “In high humidity areas (and South Africa doesn’t really qualify as a high humidity area, even Durban), moisture gets into the inflator or trigger mechanism. What is meant to happen is that the trigger mechanism produces a gas once it receives [the electronic signal telling it to deploy the airbag], and then the solid propellant turns into a gas and it deploys the airbag.
 
“What we don’t know is: what effect moisture inside the cylinder will have. The only thing we can say at this stage is that it may deploy abnormally, but it’s not to say that there is necessarily moisture within the inflator cylinder. We picked up from some of our research that it could potentially be a problem in high humidity areas. So this is more a precautionary measure.”
 
Veralda Schmidt, media liaison manager at Nissan South Africa, told Justmoney: “An air leak was found on the passenger airbag inflator body during a field parts investigation.  There is a possibility that the propellant may absorb moisture during long term vehicle operation and therefore the airbag might not deploy normally.”
 
For this reason, the manufacturers are recalling the affected vehicles to ensure customers safety.
 
However, reports indicate that recalls due to problems with Takata airbags started as early as 2008. Schmidt said: “The first indication of a Nissan recall came in 2013.  At the time a potential issue was discovered and we embarked on a campaign with owners who could possibly be affected.  Other manufacturers had recalls that started earlier, but not Nissan.”
 
Yon stressed that Toyota already started with this recall in 2013. “What this is, is it is an expansion of models, in 2013 it was only Corolla, Yaris and Run-X manufactured between 2002 and 2003. We’ve now seen from findings in Japan from research and since all of this has come to light with other manufacturers, that we have now extended it to 2007, and we’ve also included some other models, like RAV4, Hilux and Fortuner.”
 
According to both Nissan and Toyota, neither of the companies have had any reported incidents. However, Schmidt added: “[Based] on incidents experienced on certain Takata products, Nissan decided to recall vehicles with the same parts. The vehicle in question is the previous generation Almera manufactured between 2004 and 2007.”
 
Toyota revealed: “To date, no injuries or fatalities caused by this condition have been reported in the approximately five [million] affected [Toyota] vehicles worldwide.”
 
Replacing the airbag inflator
 
Toyota highlights: “The recall campaign will commence once all the required components are available at local Toyota dealers. Affected owners will then be notified by a Toyota dealer to bring their vehicle in for the service action. Please note that the replacement of the component will take one to two hours at no cost of the owner.”
 
Schmidt noted: “Nissan will be notifying customers individually from June. We are currently in the process of identifying the affected vehicle VINs after which customers will be contacted.  Nissan dealers will test the subject inflators for seal integrity, and replace inflators where necessary. The inflators will be tested and faulty inflators will be replaced.”
 
As with Toyota, the replacing of the airbag inflator will come at no cost to the customer, and will take between one and two hours to complete.
 
Nissan revealed that it is no longer installing this model of Takata airbag, however, the car manufacturer still purchases other parts from Takata. “Nissan and Takata are collaborating to investigate the root cause of the problem.”
 
Toyota custoemrs can check their vehicle on the Toyota website or contact the Toyota Call Centre on 0800 139 111. Make sure that you have your vehicle’s VIN (vehicle identification number) number available. You can find your VIN number on your car’s licence disc.
 
Nissan customers can contact Nissan on 0800 Nissan (647726).

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