Mazda dealerships replacing defective airbags for free

Owners of certain Mazda vehicles can have new airbags installed for free at events in Hilo and Kona today and Friday.

Airbags in certain Mazda vehicles were found to be defective last year, when it was discovered humid environments could deteriorate the airbags to the point where they explode, potentially showering vehicle occupants with metal fragments.

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The discovery of the defect led to a nationwide recall affecting certain Mazda models, particularly in states such as Hawaii with humid environments that can lead to the airbag failure.

As part of the recall, Mazda dealerships in Hilo and Kona will offer eligible customers free replacements of the defective airbags today and Friday. The repairs are typically completed within an hour.

Only vehicles with the defective airbag model are eligible for the repairs. These models include the 2004-09 models of the Mazda B-Series line of pickup trucks, the 2003-12 models of the Mazda6, the 2006 and 2007 models of the Mazdaspeed 6, the 2004-06 Mazda MPV, the 2004-11 RX-8, the 2007-12 CX-7 and the 2007-12 CX-9.

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Scheduling a repair is not required, but is encouraged. Customers are advised to schedule an appointment in Hilo by calling 961-4744 or in Kona by calling 329-4141.

The events are slated for 8 a.m.-5 p.m. today and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday. There also will be a free barbecue lunch Friday.

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