Old airbag drama takes caravanner off the road

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Caravanner off road after airbags drama
Uwe Hetmanska can’t go caravanning as his car’s airbags can’t be fixed. PIC: Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily

A 77-year-old gold detecting enthusiast has had his caravanning dreams shattered … by a faulty air bag.

The Sunshine Coast Daily reports that Uwe Hetmanska – who lost his wife to cancer last year – was all set for  a big trip up from his Sunshine Coast home to Cooktown in Queensland’s far north when he learned his ‘perfectly working’ Pajero 4WD could not be registered.

Letters from the Department of Transport and from Mitsubishi informed him that the NADI-5AT airbags in his 23-year-old vehicle were a risk to owners and road users.

Mr Hetmanska said he tried getting the airbags fixed at a Caloundra centre, but the company no longer made the parts.

“I have nothing else I want to do, I don’t have my wife any more, I’m not working, I just want to go look for gold,” Mr Hetmanska told the Sunshine Coast Daily. “I’ve wanted to do this all my life but couldn’t and now I can, I can’t … I’m all ready to go, I have a van with a fridge and all my gear ready.”

The Mitsubishi spokeswoman said they were working with Mr Hetmanska to complete the evaluation and buy back process so he can get back on the road.

“We understand Mr Hetmanska’s disappointment and frustration related to the recall of his Pajero,” she said. “We are asking all drivers to check that their airbags are safe, and if their vehicle is part of the buyback to contact us to arrange to have your vehicle inspected as soon as possible.”

The pensioner told the Sunshine Coast Daily that he would never have bought the car if he saw these problems coming.

“No one will give me a loan, even for a small car and being on the pension, I barely make enough to survive, let alone save,” Mr Hetmanska said. “The car isn’t faulty at all, it’s been working fine. I think they’re trying to just get old cars off the road and bring new ones in … I don’t know what to do.”

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16 Responses to Old airbag drama takes caravanner off the road

  1. How can these Pajero fail to not have the airbags replaced, the large media coverage for many many many months advertising if you own a Pajero get it inspected for replacement of faulty airbags. I feel it is the Owners responsibility and if they fail to do so stiff shit. Every TV channel some radio broadcasts told Australian car drivers if you check your vehicle number plate it tells you to contact the nearest Mitsubishi dealer for No charge replacement. Thank you Mitsubishi for replacing my Pajero airbags I listened to media airbags twice .

    • Very poor comment.
      There are many people that are not aware of recalls. There are recalls everyday for numerous items. Many people to do have media access or choose not to like myself. It is the manufacturers responsibility to reach to the owners directly. I had Toyota track me for years to numerous different addresses in different states for a wheel stud safety check. If they can do so can all car manufacturers

      • ANT: Are you trying to tell me that someone doesn’t have access to various news services in this day and age. Come on, that’s a typical cop out for someone not taking responsibility for their own actions. I would assume the Pajero has a radio to start with, I assume the pensioner has a TV (everyone does). Sorry ANT, your comment doesn’t wash with me.

        • Your comment completely shows how out touch you are with the modern world. Yes there are more media platforms out there today than in years gone by but many people these days young and old are actually far less are aware and informed of the world they live in.
          Digital overload.
          People are so absorbed in their own little world they tune out everything else. All cars have some sort of radio but it doesn’t mean people listen to an on air radio channel. They may Bluetooth music off their phone, have an iPod, CD,s Spotify. And as far as tv.s many people have them but many do not. Those that do may only watch movies, use a digital streamer for programs, pay a subscription for channels and never ever watch news.

          And those who don’t have a tv. Well in this day and age why need one. Many people get by with a phone, laptop or a tablet sure you can watch news on any of those but many people rather watch a movie.
          Despite so much information and all the media platforms out there people are just getting less educated, less informed, less knowledgeable.

          In this case for a recall the best method is the old fashioned letter in the mail. Vehicle is registered tge OEM can track down the registered owner. Everybody lives somewhere so delivery to front door is best chance to inform them.

    • The air bags fitted to these vehicles are no longer available it is not the owners fault he has taken the required action this is not the only person effected

  2. Australian Consumer Law states that any major fault MUST be subject to Repair, Replacement or Refund.
    It is unconscionable conduct for his dealer not to comply with the ACL. The gentleman purchased the vehicle in good faith, if the vehicle is not fit for purpose, the dealer must repair, replace or refund – that is the Law in Australia. It is about time the ACA got their head out of their backside and started applying the Consumer Law to dealers and manufacturers of all motor vehicles, including cleaning out the caravan manufacturers and dealers.

  3. Their are a few pensioners in this situation. The cars are not worth much, and they rarely have the money to buy a worthwhile vehicle to tow with after. Very sad. They should pay what the owners paid for them, then it would be fairer.

    • I know how that feels.I was offered a pittance for my Prado diesel 1kzte which is still doing the job of towing .I can’t afford to change so I’ll keep using the trusty Toyota.

  4. How do the authorities “test” an airbag to check that it works ??? Hmmm.

  5. Sister in law had the same situation ,,,, she rang to see what the go was and they told her not to drive the car , then they came and took it away , gave her a loan car for a month ? then offered her market value and she basically had to take it as she couldn’t have the car rego renewed anyway when it was due shortly
    luckily she still working so she could buy another car

  6. On that model there is no replacement air bag Thats why the buy back

  7. The current Takata airbag recall has noting to do with a 23 year old car fitted with NADI-5AT airbags so all the commentary about the current airbag recall misses the mark completely.

    The manufacturer needs to step up to the plate and either replace the airbags or offer a comparable roadworthy vehicle.

  8. If the Airbag is a danger why can’t it be removed and the vehicle still used under a notification on the vehicle registration details (similarly to a wriiten off vehicle that is roadworthy) ??

  9. Air bags replace
    I wonder if you can remove a airbag from a wrecked vehicle that has an ok approved air bag and put it in in place of the Tarra airbag

  10. Like others, I have spent over $8000 in the past 10 months, on a complete engine rebuild, along with updating parts and accessories with genuine Mitsi parts with the intention of 5-10 years ownership. The car has 215000km on it and should be good to for a good deal longer before the engine dies.
    I know I wouldn’t get that money back if I sold the car. But I spent the money to KEEP the car.
    It is immaculate.
    And I think this is where Mitsi have made their error. Some people own old cars because they are worthless and throw them away when they need money spent on them. Others own them with the intent that value is gained over time: higher costs in repairs but more time to return value.
    These are not old vehicles that should be off the road. The majority are well cared for, primary use, 4wd vehicles where their owners intended to keep and maintain their vehicles for years to come.
    What this “buyback” shortcut has done has put the financial burden of remedy straight back onto us, the owners.
    The market value of these vehicles which had been thus far reimbursed to other Paj owners is barely enough to buy a lemon.
    I haven’t had any issues with renewing rego in my state as yet as it’s still in its voluntary stage. Japan and US Mitsi are repairing theirs so as far as I’m concerned they can do it here in Oz too.

    • According to MMA today they are indeed going to repair these inflators for the NL.
      If I hadve handed mine in, there’s be some sort of recourse I’m sure, as I’d be very angry.
      Hope not too many were crushed. Such a waste

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