COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – Gov. Henry McMaster, along with the National Safety Council and several auto dealers, has declared September to be “Airbag Recall Repair Month,” a campaign that is in response to a safety issue impacting 193,000 vehicle in the state.
According to a news release, the impacted vehicles — which is more than 11 percent of all vehicles in the state — have dangerous, unrepaired, recalled airbags, which are at an increased risk of rupturing in hot and humid climates, such as South Carolina. Fifty-one thousand of those vehicles have two unrepaired, recalled airbags.
“When exposed over time to heat and humidity they can transform from life-saving devices into life-threatening ones,” according to the release. “In a crash, they could rupture spray shrapnel into the vehicle, causing, rather than preventing, injury or death.”
According to the release, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram dealers are participating in the campaign.
In fact, 34 dealerships across the state are offering free repairs as part of “Airbag Recall Repair Month.”
7 News spoke with one of those dealerships, and drivers, about why it’s so important to get your airbags checked.
“There’s several people who don’t realize how important it is to have your airbag replaced,” Charlie Swaney said.
Charlie Swaney told 7 News he and his team at Dave Edwards Toyota work on at least three cars with recalled airbags a day. And because safety is their top priority, they check every single car that’s brought in—to make sure they’re not on the recall list.
When Swaney learned Governor Henry McMaster declared September “Airbag Recall Repair Month,” he was glad.
“We wouldn’t want to put anyone in anything to drive that we wouldn’t drive ourselves,” Swaney said.
According to the governor’s proclamation, nearly 200,000 vehicles in South Carolina have unrepaired, recalled airbags.
Because the state’s hot temperatures and humidity could affect how well your airbags work, the proclamation says drivers here have a higher risk of getting hurt in a crash.
“In case of an accident, an airbag could definitely save your life,” Swaney said.
“That is a safety measure that we do not know we need until we need it, right? It’s one of those things—don’t be reactive about it, but be very proactive,” Jennifer McCraw said.
McCraw is a mother of two and says, when she learned her airbag had been recalled, she got it replaced immediately.
“If your younger kids are in the front seat, it may not go off when it should. Or they may not function properly when you have an accident,” she said.
“Think about your family riding in there. Most of them are the passenger airbags. So, it’s probably somebody you love sitting in the passenger seat. It’s someone you want to take care of and make sure that person’s safe,” Swaney said.
Every driver in South Carolina is asked to check to see if your vehicle has an unrepaired or recalled airbag by following these three steps:
- Locate your vehicle’s 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN) by checking the driver’s side dashboard, vehicle registration or insurance documents.
- Enter the VIN into CheckToProtect.org to find out if you have an open safety recall.
- Schedule a free repair appointment at a local dealership. Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram, and Toyota dealers have parts in stock and technicians on-hand all month. Repairs take about an hour to complete.
According to the release, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram dealers are also reaching out to drivers across the state as part of the campaign.
Has your vehicle’s airbag been recalled? Click here to find a local dealer near you to get it repaired.
Swaney told 7 News it usually takes about an hour to complete an airbag repair.