Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mazda recall 3.4m cars: are you at risk?

Toyota cars

Over 3.4 million cars around the world - including 150,000 in the UK - are being recalled due to safety fears over the passenger-side airbag.

So what is the problem? Which cars are affected? And what should you do if your car is being recalled?
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The danger

The car manufacturers have announced a problem with the device that inflates the passenger airbag. Pressure from the airbags has caused the inflator to burst - with the risk that small shards could be shot out of the airbag. All of these companies use airbags manufactured by the same business - Japan's Takata Corp - so they have all been affected.

According to Toyota there have been "five reports related to this issue, two in Japan and three in the US. Toyota has received no reports of injuries. There have been no reports of this fault in the UK." However, they are taking the precaution of issuing a recall.

The cars

Toyota has the biggest share of affected vehicles. A spokesperson said that in the UK there are 76,000 vehicles being recalled. They were all registered in the UK between November 2000 and March 2004 - and have plate numbers between X and 54. Affected models include the Corolla, Yaris, Avensis, Avensis Verso, Picnic and Camry.

Nissan is also recalling 59,058 cars, manufactured between 2000 and 2004, including the X-Trail, Patrol, Almera, Almera Tino, Terrano II and the 4x4 Pickup.

Honda is recalling 15,400 cars bought in the UK, which were made between 2001 and 2003. Most of these are CRVs, although there are also some Jazz, Civics and Streams.

And Mazda is recalling 1,913 cars - the Mazda 6 models bought in the UK in 2002 and 2003.

This is yet another setback for the car companies - particularly Toyota which had to recall 2.7 million vehicles worldwide in November over a steering wheel fault, and 7.43 million vehicles in October over power window switches malfunctioning. These followed hot on the heels of a wave of recalls in 2010 and 2011, which put a major dent in the manufacturer's reputation.

But what does it mean for you?

If your car is part of the recall you don't have to do anything. The companies are working with VOSA (the people who handle the registered keeper documents), so you will be contacted by letter in the next 30 days.

You'll need to take your car in for an inspection, where they will check if you have one of the inflators that could possibly have been affected. If your car needs a repair it won't cost you anything, and it will take around an hour and a half.

If you don't want to wait, Toyota drivers can use the recall checker on their website, and drivers of all the other vehicles can contact their local dealer and ask them to check.

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