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Car manufacturers have a very clear warning for second-hand vehicle buyers: Don’t buy a car until you’ve checked if it has a faulty Takata airbag!

A quick check could save the life of the buyer or their passengers.  Any car fitted with an unrectified faulty Takata airbag could kill or seriously injure any occupant of the vehicle.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the peak body for the automotive industry, says checking a vehicle is easy.

“You can check the recall status of vehicles by texting TAKATA to 0487 AIRBAG (247 224). You can also check vehicles on the automotive industry’s website,” Tony Weber, chief executive of the FCAI, advised.

“All you need to know is a vehicle’s registration number and the state or territory of registration. A check is quick and repairs to affected vehicles are free.

“Unregistered vehicles can be checked by contacting the brand directly.

Mr Weber said that while registered dealerships have strong protocols to check for faulty Takata airbags, private sellers may not.

“It is a breach of the ACCC Compulsory Takata Recall Notice for a dealer to sell a vehicle equipped with a faulty airbag and under active recall, and therefore dealers have extensive processes in place to ensure they comply with this requirement.

“However, private sellers of vehicles are not covered by this sanction and are able to sell vehicles equipped with faulty airbags without breaching the recall notice.”

Mr Weber said vehicle buyers should insist on the seller having a faulty airbag repaired and being able to produce a receipt for the work from the brand’s dealer or authorised repairer.

“You should not take delivery of a vehicle and agree to get the airbag repaired at a later time. A faulty airbag can explode at any time with devastating results.”

“It’s also possible state and territory registration authorities will refuse to transfer the vehicle’s registration to a new owner until rectification is complete,” Mr Weber said.

Automotive dealerships can rectify vehicles with faulty Takata airbags despite the interruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some dealership workshops in the Melbourne metropolitan area may not be open during Stage 4 restrictions. Vehicle owners should check with the vehicle’s manufacturer to locate the nearest open dealership.

At June 30 car manufacturers have rectified more than 2.68 million vehicles affected by the Takata Airbag Recall, with a further 218,393 vehicles identified as unreplaceable. This represents 95 per cent of vehicles affected by the compulsory national recall.