October 17, 2016

Takata Airbag Recall - Personal Experience

Recall - Normally perceived as something negative due to fault in design or production stage of a product by the public. Things will get tensed when there are fatality caused by defective product and an immediate recall will be inevitable. The infamous Takata airbag rupture is one of the main reasons many car manufacturers are issuing worldwide recall to fix the 'ticking time bomb' in many of their cars fixed with Takata manufactured airbags. The defective component could send shrapnels to the occupants at the moment the airbags are inflated in an impact. 

In Malaysia, UMW Toyota calls recall as Special Service Campaign, and created a vehicle identification number (VIN) checker website which enable us to check any Toyota manufactured vehicle which is affected in the campaign by keying in the VIN. As my father owns a 2002 Toyota Corolla Altis, we got news that it is actually included in the campaign despite being aged more than 10 years. Using the VIN checker confirmed the validity of the news as well. In the VIN checker there was a form to fill in to request UMW Toyota to contact us (which was around mid of July 2016) for the airbag replacement. 

After submitting the form for 2 weeks, it seemed that there was no respond from UMW Toyota either in the form of phone call or email. So in early of August, I took the initiative to email the customer support which I got from the official website. It took UMW Toyota few days to respond via email, which they explained that they are still waiting for the principal confirmation on the parts arrival date. The good thing is the customer support personnel did ask which branch of service centre which I prefer to go to, which I chose the one nearest to my home. 

Then things got silence for a month or more... Sometime in September, someone from the service centre called, informing that there is still not available stock for the passenger airbag replacement (apparently only the passenger airbag is affected for the 2002 Corolla Altis). 

Thankfully the good news starts here. Finally in the first week of October, someone called to inform there is available stock and we can send the car into the service centre for 2 hours on a Saturday. I immediately placed an appointment on the first coming Saturday and sent the car in. Surprisingly the whole replacement process took just half an hour and it is free of charge! 

I believe both sides (manufacturer and the owners) should take initiative in this issue, or else unfortunate incidents are bound to happen. But one thing for sure, another giant Japanese marque in Malaysia (well, you know who) has put in greater effort in resolving this issue. 

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