Why this new Takata airbag recall is so confusing

May 21, 2015, 4:23 PM UTC
This picture taken on November 23, 2014 shows Japanese auto parts maker Takata's logo being displayed at an event in Yokohama, suburban Tokyo. Toyota said on November 27 the company is expanding a recall of cars with airbags made by auto parts maker Takata which have been linked to driver deaths. The world's biggest automaker said it would recall some 57,000 vehicles globally -- about 40,000 units in Japan and some 17,000 overseas -- while subsidiary Daihatsu would recall about 27,500 vehicles in Japan.Some 16 million vehicles from nearly a dozen automakers worldwide, also including Honda, BMW, Ford and General Motors, have been recalled over the problem. AFP PHOTO / Toru YAMANAKA (Photo credit should read TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)
Photograph by Toru Yamanaka — AFP/Getty Images

Takata’s airbag recall isn’t just terrifying—the devices may spray shrapnel when they explode—it’s also leaving consumers with a very important unanswered question: Is my car included?

The recall has so far failed to provide a comprehensive list of which specific cars it applies to.

On Tuesday, the Japanese automotive parts maker doubled the number of airbags in its recall to 34 million, about one in seven cars in America. The faulty devices have been linked to six deaths. Compiling a full list of the cars included in the recall may take days, according to the the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Ten automakers must check their records against Takata’s before a full rundown of affected automobiles is made public.

In the meantime consumers are wondering if the cars they’re driving contain airbags that can do some real, potentially deadly damage.

A California driver told The New York Times that his car model, a 2003 Honda Accord, appeared on previous Takata-related recall lists, but his vehicle number didn’t show up as being recalled when he searched the government’s safercar.gov site. “This has been tough to follow,” John Young told the newspaper.

A post on the Safety Administration’s website told visitors to “check back periodically as a recall on your vehicle may not show up immediately.”