Counterfeit Airbags: Does your car have the real deal?
In October of last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a consumer safety advisory to alert owners of vehicles as well as repair professionals about the dangers and severity of counterfeit airbags. A trend has occurred which involves sale and use of counterfeit airbags as replacement parts in vehicles involved in crashes. These counterfeit airbags look identical and seem to be certified, they even carry the brand of major automakers. However, the NHTSA testing showed consistent malfunctioning of the airbag. Problems included non-deployment and metal shrapnel exploding when the bag deploys.
Since airbags are such a vital part of the safety of an occupant of a vehicle, having counterfeit airbags could cause traumatic injury and death. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stated, “Anytime equipment that is critical to protecting drivers and passengers fails to operate properly, it is a serious safety concern. We want consumers to be immediately aware of this problem and to review or safety info to see if their vehicle could be in need of inspection.” David Strickland, a NHTSA administrator could not express how important it was for vehicles to meet federal safety standards so that people’s lives are protected.
The good news is that only vehicles which have had an air bag replaced within the past three years by a repair shop that is not a new dealership may be at risk. If you are part of the group of vehicles who may have been affected, you can get more information at www.safecar.gov.
You can visit the National Highway and Traffic Safety webpage here, to see if you are a consumer who could be at risk. They have also provided a list of all of the vehicle’s make and models for which counterfeit airbags are available.