UPDATED 4/1/2019: If you receive a notice that your car's air bag is under recall, for the potential of a deadly explosion, you might think the dealer would be able to get you in soon to repair it.
But that's not always the case. The Takata air bag recall involves millions of cars, from dozens of automakers, and the replacement process is now in its sixth year.
Months in loaner cars
One frustrated Springdale, Ohio, man said he's been waiting almost a year for his new air bag, and has a fleet of loaner cars to prove it.
Jason Reece has a sharp Nissan Murano SUV parked in his driveway.
"It's a nice vehicle," he said.
But he doesn't want it. That's because he has been driving a free loaner car for eight months now — courtesy the Ford Motor Company — after Ford recalled his 2012 Fusion for having a potentially dangerous Takata air bag.
"They told me it would take some time to get the parts," he said. "But until then I would have a loaner vehicle through Enterprise rent-a-car."
He thought they just meant a few weeks.
But since last June, he says, he's driven a Nissan Rouge, a Nissan Murano, a Mazda CX5, a Ford Expedition, and now another Murano, while his Fusion sat at the dealer waiting for a new air bag.
You might think that getting a loaner car with new car small every month would be exciting. But Reese said while Enterprise was helpful and provided excellent quality cars, the thrill wore off pretty quickly, since he constantly had to take cars back, and couldn't drive them on a vacation due to mileage.
"It's difficult because it's inconvenient, because I have to turn this vehicle in at whatever notice," he said.
So we checked with his Ford dealer, which apologized for the delay and said yes, they just recently received a new air bag that will fit his Fusion.
"I'd just like to be done with this whole process," Reese said.
UPDATE: We are happy to report that Reece now has his car back, with a new air bag installed, and is happy with the outcome and Ford's handling of the recall.
Can you get a free loaner?
Ford is paying for loaner cars for the most risky vehicles as part of a 2018 settlement.
So if you are still waiting for an air bag you may be able to get a loaner too. If the dealer says they do not have any loaners, check Ford Customer Service.
Only certain high risk years and models, however, are part of the settlement for free loaners.
But once your car is in the shop, keep checking back, because it could be a long wait for a new air bag.
As always, don't waste your money.
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