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August 20, 2019

On not getting my potentially life-threatening defective airbags replaced*

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About five or so years ago Mercedes-Benz identified the Takata airbags in my 2010 vehicle as among those that needed to be replaced because there had been reports of the airbags spontaneously exploding and maiming or killing front seat occupants.

However, Takata had gone bankrupt and then reorganized yadda yadda yadda long story short: Mercedes did not have replacements ready, as earlier recalls of millions of defective Takata airbags in other makes were in progress and took precedence over Mercedes' relatively delayed recognition that its vehicles carried these faulty devices.

The notification letter from Mercedes said that by law they were required to notify me of the status of my replacements on an annual basis, and that they would do so.

And so every year I've received a letter from Mercedes saying my airbags need to be replaced but they don't yet have the parts.

Earlier this year my local dealer, where I purchased the car used in 2013 (last payment was in February this year w00t!), called to tell me that the replacement airbags were in.

I made an appointment and got a loaner and didn't hear from them for a couple days which was fine with me 'cause the loaner was a 2018 E350 with every bell and whistle available, a $65,000 car, and I was having a fine time putting it through its paces.

When they called again, they were apologetic: it seems Mercedes sent them the wrong replacements and they couldn't locate the correct versions, so would I please come and get my car.

No problema.

Then I got this giant fire-engine red postcard from Mercedes (above and below) saying my airbags needed to be replaced and it was urgent.

I thought, "How urgent could it be?" after the events related above.

I decided not to bring the car in instanter but rather to wait until October, when I need to bring it in anyway for its annual Virginia state inspection.

You know me: do the least possible.

But as the summer has passed, and as I drive around without the airbag exploding and maiming or killing me, it has occurred to me that if it was gonna explode, it should've done so by now.

Right?

I've been tooling around in my car quite happily and uneventfully since August of 2013 and nothing's happened.

So rather than bring the car into the dealership in October for airbag replacement and an inspection, I'm gonna choose a faster, simpler option, namely, bring the car into University Tire & Auto — where I've purchased a tire to replace a flat and where I know there won't be any upsell to get my brakes and transmission flushed like the Mercedes dealer always does — for just the inspection.

I'm gonna let the sleeping, potentially defective airbags lie in situ.

What would you do?

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*Free, the way we like it

August 20, 2019 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


Comments

Hmm...
You might have to rethink this, Joe...

Posted by: Flautist | Aug 21, 2019 10:46:29 AM

As long as you don't offer anyone else a ride, cuz Scott is right.

Posted by: Ms. Radoo | Aug 21, 2019 8:50:30 AM

Except that they're not spontaneously being triggered at all, they're only defective in a collision, and lethally so.

The defect is that they act as a shrapnel cannon rather than a cushion in a collision - firing metal bits into the driver.

So, don't hit anything and it'll be fine forever (though I'd get it changed before you sell it, just as an added incentive for the next customer).

https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/takata-recall-spotlight

Posted by: Scott | Aug 20, 2019 7:36:20 PM

Yeah, me too. I'd figure that not ALL the airbags exploded, apparently, just "reports" of some, so I would go with thinking if they haven't exploded in 6 years, they're not gonna, and I'd just keep on driving around with the old ones in there, like I had good sense. Of course they might be lying in wait like a snake, just biding their time, looking for the perfect opportunity to strike, but I wouldn't be thinking about that, much.

On another note, you know that part where it says the Mercedes dealer called you back and were very apologetic? Often when I see the word apologetic, my brain reads apoplectic, and the other way 'round, too. Look at them side by side:

apologetic
apoplectic

See what I mean? Sometimes it really livens up what I'm reading.

Posted by: Flautist | Aug 20, 2019 1:31:38 PM

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