Recalls Archive

Takata Airbag Recall: Get Your Car Fixed NOW!

An attempt to save money takes lives and ultimately costs millions in fines. Are you flipping mad yet? You should be.

Takata logoIn the largest auto recall in history, tens of millions of vehicles have been recalled to have 28.8 million airbags replaced. Takata airbag inflators have injured more than 100 people and killed 11 people: 10 in the U.S. and 1 in Malaysia, with the most recent being a 17 year old Texas girl on March 31. The 17 year old was driving a 2002 Honda Civic and, according to Honda, several recall notices had been sent to the registered owners (they claim not to have received any).

This story has been in the news for years and you’ve probably paid some attention to it just because of its frequency on the news, but with the media’s fixation on the election, disease du jour, ISIS, and so on, a few airbag deaths get left behind in our daily news consumption of dread.

What’s been happening is that the airbag itself isn’t killing drivers: it’s shrapnel from the explosive device used to deploy the airbag. These metal fragments explode out at such a force that they slice right through skin, eyes, arteries, and even spinal columns. This is happening when the airbags deploy in minor crashes, collisions from which the victims should be walking away.

Before you run out and disconnect your airbags (and I know some of you will), these explosive devices, or inflators, are needed in order to deploy the airbag. In fact, they’re in other safety devices throughout your vehicle and activate in crashes, but we’re focusing on airbags here. When the airbag sensors detect a crash, the inflators ignite, starting a chemical reaction that fills the airbag with gas. It sounds crazy scary, but airbags have saved thousands of lives. Between 2010 and 2013 (the latest year from which we have data), 9,554 lives were saved by frontal airbags. Many thousands upon thousands more lives have been saved since the frontal airbag was introduced in the ‘70s.


Problems with exploding airbags initially cropped up back in 2004 in Alabama when a Honda Accord airbag exploded, injuring its driver. Because it was the first incident, both Honda and Takata chalked it up to being an anomaly and moved on without issuing a recall. According to the New York Times, Honda did report the incident to NHTSA, but didn’t elaborate in the report that it was an airbag rupture. Then again in 2007, three more ruptures were reported to Honda, and again, Honda did not elaborate in their reports to NHTSA that the airbags were exploding. In 2007, Honda told Takata of the ruptures and Takata went to work to find the cause: manufacturing problems at their Mexican plant. However, the ruptures continued and after more testing, Takata linked the problem to manufacturing problems at their Washington state factory.

Recalls began in 2008 and initially only driver’s side airbag inflators were recalled, but passenger airbag inflators were added as those started to rupture as well. Then in August 2015, side airbag inflators came under inspection when a Volkswagen Tiguan’s seat mounted side airbags ruptured after a collision with a deer. GM also reported a rupture to NHTSA. This “SSI-20” inflator is found in Volkswagen and GM vehicles and has been recalled in those vehicles too.

Takata Timeline

Evenflo Transitions 3-in-1 Combination Seat Recall


Evenflo Transitions - Maleah pinkA recall has been issued for the Evenflo Transitions 3-in-1 combination seat. No injuries have been reported, but Evenflo has identified a potential safety concern and voluntarily issued a recall. Some children are able to reach the harness adjuster mechanism, allowing them to loosen the harness while they’re in the seat. Evenflo has developed a remedy kit that should eliminate a child’s access and activation of the central front adjuster (CFA) mechanism.

This recall includes model numbers 34411686, 34411695, and 34411029, all manufactured prior to January 29, 2016. Owners should be contacted by mail if they registered their seats, or consumers can submit a form to Evenflo or call them at 1-800-233-5921.

Owners of the recalled seats will receive a kit that includes a replacement seat cushion, a new harness adjuster assembly, and instructions. You can view a video of how to replace the adjuster here. The video is very helpful because it is a detailed process and you want to make sure you’ve done it correctly.

Evenflo transitions - recall CFA

If you own a Transitions and are using it in harnessed mode, you have a couple options while you wait for your fix kit to arrive:

If your child has not shown an interest in loosening it, or cannot reach the central front adjuster (CFA) with the harness straps tightened properly, you can monitor the situation while continuing to use the seat.

Evenflo Transitions - 4 yo 2If your child is loosening the harness, the first thing you should do is the Pinch Test to double check that the harness straps are tight enough. It’s a lot easier to reach the CFA if the harness isn’t properly snug. A snug harness has no visible slack and you cannot pinch any webbing in the straps above the chest clip near the collar bone. In our experience, most younger kids can’t manipulate the CFA if the harness is appropriately snug because their arms just aren’t long enough. Older kids with longer arms are more likely to be able to reach the CFA and unlock it. If the harness is snug but the child can still reach the CFA and the behavior persists, Evenflo suggests using the seat in booster mode (if the child is at least 40 pounds and 43.3 inches tall) until the remedy kit arrives. If the child is under that height/weight and playing with the adjuster, Evenflo recommends discontinuing use of the seat until the remedy kit is applied.

Note: This recall is for the Evenflo Transitions, not to be confused with the Graco Tranzitions which is a completely different carseat.

Carseat Recalls – the good, the bad and the ridiculous


Recall-stampYour carseat is recalled. Those words strike fear into the hearts and minds of safety-conscious parents everywhere. After all, no one wants to hear that there is a potential problem with their carseat – a product that they’ve entrusted to protect their child’s life under the worst possible circumstances. For child restraint manufacturers, recalls are more than just fixing compliance or safety issues – they tend to be costly and chock full of bad publicity. In short, recalls are bad for business. However, voluntary recalls are also a part of the business and almost every manufacturer has to face a recall issue sooner or later. It’s important to understand that not all recalls are for serious safety-related problems although some clearly are.

A carseat could be recalled for having a small hole in the shell (for attaching the cup holder) if enough kids get a finger stuck in that hole. A seat could also be recalled for having an incorrect phone number for NHTSA listed on the label. Or for having a mix-up with the English/Spanish sticker labels. Labeling errors are actually pretty common but rarely are they a safety concern.

Most consumers have no idea how many nit-picky little criteria are in FMVSS 213 that must be complied with. One perfect example, if the carseat is one that is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft then the label is required to state that. But it’s also required to state that in red lettering. If someone, somewhere, screws up and that wording winds up printed on the label in black or gray, or any color other than red, then… you guessed it – the seat will be recalled for failing to comply with federal standards.

Britax Frontier 80 FAA Certification Label

Meanwhile, every store around the country that carried that particular carseat will probably have that “WANTED – DEAD OR ALIVE” recall notice poster with a picture of the culprit hanging in the aisle or posted on a bulletin board – alerting consumers to the failure of that product to comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. I bet the money spent on that recall campaign could buy a whole lot of red ink. And probably a few years worth of gas and groceries too.

It’s ridiculous that all recalls get lumped together and there is no differentiating between a misdemeanor and a felony. How many parents get totally freaked out because of some minor issue that has nothing to do with the safety of their child restraint? On the flip side, there are plenty of legitimately scary recalls that can affect the product’s ability to protect children in crashes. Almost every manufacturer has to deal with something that falls into this category sooner or later. No product or production process, no matter how good, is guaranteed to be flawless 100% of the time.

What REALLY matters in these situations is how the manufacturer responds once it becomes apparent that there is a problem (or at least the potential for a problem). Do they quickly identify a solution and issue a voluntary recall right away – before any children are seriously injured? Or do they drag their feet, arguing back and forth with NHTSA for years until they are forced to issue a recall?

I have to say that there have been a lot of properly handled recalls recently that reaffirm my faith in some carseat manufacturers. Timely and appropriate responses combined with good customer service really go a long way to calm fears. Obviously, the more severe the problem or defect, the more it will take to regain the trust of consumers but good customer service is always the best place to start whenever there’s a problem. Well, that and an acceptable solution to whatever the problem is. I’ve seen some really lame “solutions” to recall issues over the years but that’s a topic for a whole different blog.

So, what can consumers do to protect their children from faulty products? Spending a lot of money on a CR doesn’t make it less likely to be recalled. Really, your best protection is to be an educated consumer. Whenever possible, buy products from manufacturers who have a good reputation for recalling seats quickly when problems arise and for handling problems with excellent customer service. It is also critical that you register your child restraint with the manufacturer so that you will be notified in the case of a recall.  If you move – don’t forget to call them and update your contact info!

If you’d like to check your carseat or booster for recalls – there are several resources available. Keep in mind that recalls may occur years after the product has been purchased. Here are links to the 2 most popular recall lists:

NHTSA Recall List:

University of North Carolina HSRC Recall List:

You can also sign up for email alerts whenever a new recall is announced:

2016 Graco Extend2Fit Recall


Graco Extend2Fit - stockThe Graco Extend2Fit just hit the shelves, but there’s already a recall on some seats. Not to worry, though: The recall is very minor and does not affect the safety of the seat.

The issue is that seats sold in the U.S. need to have labels in both English and Spanish. On some Extend2Fits, the wording on some of the recline labels (identifying positions 1-6) got mixed up, so there’s English on the Spanish side or vice-versa.

If you have an Extend2Fit, check to see if the labels are entirely in English on one side of the seat and entirely in Spanish on the other. If the languages are mixed together, you can call Graco for replacement labels. The seat is perfectly safe to use in the meantime.

Wording of the recall from the Graco website:

Potential Problem:

Over the past 60 years, safety has been and will continue to be our priority at Graco. As part of our continuous effort to provide quality and safe products, Graco has discovered that the recline label on a small portion of the Extend2Fit convertible car seats manufactured between November 27, 2015 to January 20, 2016 does not meet regulatory guidelines. While the affected products represent less than one percent of those produced, Graco is recalling the recline label on the affected car seats and providing owners with a free replacement label that can be applied directly to the car seat. The affected Extend2Fit convertible car seats are part of the Campaign fashion sold in the United States.

Injuries Reported: 0

Number of Units Affected: 15,064

Dates Produced: Manufactured between November 27, 2015 – January 20, 2016

MSRP: $199.99

Models Affected: 1954477


To verify if a car seat is included in this recall, caregivers should check their model number and date of manufacture. In addition, caregivers should confirm whether their recline label is correct by examining all labels on the side of the car seat (including the recline label which identifies positions 1 through 6) to determine they are in the same language (i.e. all English (including the recline label) on one side of the car seat and all Spanish on the other side of the car seat). If the languages are the same, caregivers can continue to use their car seat without hesitation as instructed in the owner’s manual; the car seat does not need a new label as provided by the recall. If the recline label is incorrect because the languages on the side of the car seat do not match, then caregivers can contact the Graco consumer services team at 1-800-345-4109 (Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm ET) to order a free replacement recline label.

Click here to see if you are affected, or contact Graco toll-free at 800-345-4109 Monday – Friday from 8 am to 5 pm EST. The model number and date of manufacture can be found on the white label located on the bottom of the car seat.