I recently got a letter in the mail (pictured above) from Audi USA indicating my car is affected by the Takata airbag scandal – based on chatter for the forums, most if not all B7 owners have gotten this notice, as well as some late model B6 owners too. If your A4 is a 2006-2009 model year, you are likely affected. To confirm if your car is affected by the recall visit this site and enter your VIN: http://web.audiusa.com/recall/. Audi has also setup a FAQ site about this recall here: https://www.audiusa.com/about/takata. Oddly enough, it only seems to affect the front passenger seat, but the drivers seat is okay. Audi’s lawyers recommend you do not use the front passenger seat until the fix is completed, but there is no ETA on when replacement parts are available or who will get serviced first, so that could be months…a very implausible scenario for most owners.
Takata Recall Impact
The NHTSA has called this recall “the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history” and it impacts over 14 different automakers, not just Audi. The number of vehicles continues to grow, which is bad news as Audi owners await replacement parts along with over 100 million other cars that are impacted by this. The only good news is that automakers will be replacing the parts for free no matter how far out of warranty your car is, there is just no stated ETA on when this will occur. According to Consumer Reports, the following other Audi models are also impacted by this recall:
- 2005-2013 Audi A3
- 2004-2008 Audi A4
- 2006-2009 A4 Cabriolet
- 2005-2011 Audi A6
- 2010-2011 Audi A5 Cabriolet
- 2009-2012, 2015 Audi Q5
- 2016 Audi TT
- 2017 Audi R8
Risks of a Takata Airbag
The long and short is that when the airbag potentially deploys, metal shrapnel may fly out and mutilate or kill passengers in the car. To date only 10 people have died, but hundreds have been injured. On some vehicles the risk is so large that the NTSA administration advises owners “should not drive these vehicles unless they are going straight to a dealer to have them repaired immediately, free of charge.”
For the B7 model Audis you do have the option of pulling the fuse for the airbags, which will turn off all airbags. I cannot advise on if this is safer or not, but I do not plan to do this. These 10 deaths and 100 injuries span over 1.2M airbag deployments, so net-net it is a VERY small risk from a purely statistical standpoint. The risks are reported to be higher in regions that have high humidity and high temperatures such as Florida, the Gulf Coast, and Islands, so if you live those areas you may want to take extra precautions.
Selling Your Car?
If you’re recently bought or plan to sell your car and it has been affected by this scandal, then you can be rest assured that the recall will still be honored for all future owners. You do not need to be the original owner, or have bought the car from a Audi dealership…it can be a trade-in car, purchased private party, etc. – the repair is still free, and you should receive the letter regardless as Audi contacts you through the DMV database at the address the car is registered to, not the original owner of the vehicle. As long as your VIN was affected, the airbag will be replaced.
For more info, this article on Consumer Reports has tons of detailed information that is much more comprehensive than you will find from Audi (or any other manufacturer) since they don’t have to worry about lawsuits nearly as much as the automakers and parts suppliers do: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2016/05/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-takata-air-bag-recall/index.htm