I-Team: Exploding airbags

ABC7 I-Team Investigation
CHICAGO (WLS) -- The I-Team is getting results after responding to a woman's concerns about exploding airbags.

Airbag recalls involving millions of vehicles have caused big repair backlogs.

One woman turned to the I-Team after her airbags exploded while she was driving.

She says she wasn't getting the settlement she wanted, until the I-Team stepped in.

"I was getting nowhere by myself until I went to the I-Team," said Mary Wisowaty, who is driving her 2003 Jeep Liberty again after $2,700 in repairs and a rental car while she waited three weeks. She says it was all covered by Chrysler.

Wisowaty also received a check for $10,000!

"I think it was the pressure you put on them and I think it was the pressure I put on them by coming to you and giving you the story," said Wisowaty.

Before the I-Team became involved, she says Chrysler was offering her $8,000 for the Jeep with these deployed airbags.

"Because I went through such problems with the car and the injuries and it wasn't enough," Wisowaty said.

Both airbags suddenly exploded as she was driving 35 miles an hour. Wisowaty suffered minor injuries.

"All of the sudden, my airbag just pops and all of this smoke comes out," said Wisowaty.

She admits that she continued to drive despite this airbag safety recall notice, but says she had no other way to get to work and that area dealerships didn't have parts.

Fiat Chrysler acknowledged delays, noted the engineering challenges of making parts available and said parts were available for all customers in December, but that was almost three months after Wisowaty's incident.

"And I am not really afraid to drive it now as you can see there's no lights on," Wisowaty said.

The I-Team also got results for Minor Esquivel, when his extended warranty didn't cover a broken airbag.

Nissan stood behind its "airbag exclusion." This, as Nissan is also recalling millions of vehicles to correct a potential airbag "manufacturing defect." Esquivel's specific make, model and year is not part of the recall.

"I think it's ridiculous," said Esquivel.

But weeks ago a Nissan spokesperson sent the I-Team an email saying, "Nissan has re-evaluated his circumstances and is willing to pay for the cost of his repair," an estimated value of $4,500.

"I feel as though if someone has a problem they should contact the I-Team. It does get results for you," said Wisowaty.

Chrysler has no further comment on Wisowaty's resolution.

You should check with your mechanic to see if you have any outstanding recalls.

If a dealership is waiting on parts, you should ask them and the manufacturer for a rental car, but there are no laws requiring they provide one.

For more help visit safercar.gov powered by NHTSA.

Related topics:
auto recallcari team
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