One day after Takata Corp. announced a recall affecting a total of 33.8 million inflators -- one in seven registered vehicles in the U.S. -- due to defective airbags, consumers set a record, flooding the U.S. government's recall website to see whether their car was involved.
The problem: None of the 17 million newly recalled cars have been listed yet on safercar.gov.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration said today it expected to have most of the vehicle identification numbers uploaded on its safercar.gov by early next week. A vehicle's VIN can be found on the driver's side where the dashboard meets the windshield or on the driver's side door post.
NHTSA said it was waiting for the VINs to come from automakers. Without the VIN, consumers cannot find out whether their car is part of the new recall.
"This is part of what's hard right now," NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind told ABC News today. "Yesterday, we announced the defect. We are waiting and hopefully shortly we will have all the information from 11 manufacturers so that people can look up their VIN and know if their car is affected. ... It takes a while. We need to get that online and then we have to make sure next, that the parts are going to be available so when you go to your dealer you can get that replaced."
Takata's airbags have been at the center of controversy with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the NHTSA after the company's airbags were linked to at least five deaths, and more than 100 injuries, according to DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx. Takata found that one out of 160 recalled bag inflators ruptured during testing, sending shrapnel flying, according to a source familiar with the company's ongoing testing.
Experts advised consumers not to inspect airbags on their own and not to disable them because they are complex and contain explosive chemicals, so there is some risk.
Rosekind said he was going to look up his car's VIN and suggested that once all the VINs were uploaded onto the site, car owners do the same and then head to a dealer or carmaker.
"I'm a driver. ... I'm going to see if we need to get to the dealer," he said. "I'm going to basically ask, if not demand, that I get a loaner so that if possible I don't have to drive it. I'm going to push them and call as often as I can to make sure that they get the parts as soon as they can, so it gets fixed."