If you own an older Toyota Corolla or RAV4, take note. Toyota urges you not to drive the vehicle until you get it into the dealership for a safety recall repair.
The safety recall involves potentially deadly Takata airbag inflaters, Reuters reports. Here’s what we know about the Toyota Corolla recall on 2003-2004 models, as well as the many other cars impacted by faulty Takata airbags.
Toyota is recalling 2003-2004 Corolla cars.
Toyota issued an urgent “Do Not Drive” advisory on Jan. 25, 2024, for its 2003-2004 Corolla and Corolla Matrix vehicles. The recalled vehicles may have Takata airbags, which have been linked to over 30 deaths and many injuries over the past 15 years, according to Reuters.
The recall affects an estimated 50,000 cars, per Toyota, and the company describes this as an "URGENT airbag safety recall."
Takata airbags have been at the center of some of the largest auto safety recalls since 2009, as the bags have been known to explode and spray shrapnel throughout vehicles when deployed.
“Due to the age of the vehicles, if the airbag deploys, a part inside is more likely to explode and shoot sharp metal fragments which could cause serious injury or death to the driver or passengers,” stated the Toyota safety recall.
Toyota is also recalling some 2004-2005 RAV 4s.
Toyota's safety recall and “Do Not Drive” advisory also includes Toyota 2004-2005 RAV4s vehicles.
Soon after Toyota announced its recall, General Motors also recalled its 2003-2004 Pontiac Vibe for the same Takata airbag safety concerns, reported the automotive news website Jalopnik. The same production facility was responsible for manufacturing the recalled Pontiac Vibes and the recalled Toyota models, Jalopnik reported.
Takata airbags have been recalled too many times to count.
Takata airbag recalls don't only affect Toyota cars — they have actually impacted cars produced by 19 different car manufacturers, per Consumer Reports. According to the news outlet, of the 67 million Takata airbags that have been recalled, only about 11 million have been replaced, as of the end of 2022.
One significant death due to an exploding Takata airbag occurred in May 2023. A person in a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup was killed when the air bag on the passenger exploded, per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
“The older a defective Takata airbag inflator gets, the more dangerous it becomes. Please, get your airbag replaced now for your sake and for the sake of those who love you,” NHTSA representative Ann Carlson said in a statement in 2023.
Per Consumer Reports, other automakers that issued “Do Not Drive” warnings in 2023 because of the Takata airbag issue include:
Dodge: 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup trucks
BMW: 2000-2006 BMW 3 Series (E46), 2000-2003 5 Series (E39), and 2000-2004 X5s
Honda: 2001-2003 Honda Accord, Civic, CR-V, Odyssey, and Pilot
Acura: TL and CL.
Here's what to do if you have a recalled Toyota car:
You can check if your Toyota vehicle is recalled by entering your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or license plate number at Toyota.com/recall or nhtsa.gov/recalls. If your car is part of the recall, you should contact your local Toyota dealer as soon as possible about getting it repaired.
The safety repair on recalled vehicles will be done free of charge. Since Toyota stressed that you should not drive the recalled vehicle, ask your Toyota dealer if it offers free mobile repair, towing, or pickup and delivery, Toyota said.