The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a warning earlier this month about counterfeit airbags that have been used as replacement airbags in certain vehicles. The NHTSA is working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Department of Justice to learn more about where these fake airbags are being manufactured and to stop their import into the U.S.
Consumers who purchased their vehicles new and have not had the airbags replaced due to a car accident are not affected. Likewise, anyone who was in a car accident but had their vehicle repaired at a body shop that is part of a new car dealership should also be fine. The NHTSA believes most of these airbags were installed by non-affiliated repair shops within the last three years. The counterfeit airbags were only available for certain makes and models of cars. Click here to see the list.
During testing by the NHTSA, 90% of the bags tested either did not inflate at all or did not fully inflate. One bag released metal shards when it deployed. In many cases, the bags appear to be real, and some even have brand marks of the auto manufacturers. At this time, the NHTSA is not aware of any injuries or deaths due to these counterfeit airbags.
The NHTSA recommends that all car owners who believe their vehicle may be at risk of having one of these counterfeit airbags installed take the car to a reputable repair shop to be checked. In the event the airbag is counterfeit, it should be replaced at the owner’s expense with a legitimate airbag.
Research has shown that airbags save lives in auto accidents. It is unfortunate that these unscrupulous foreign manufacturers have chosen to put driver’s safety at risk for a quick buck.
Here’s the NHTSA testing video, if you’d like to watch the results: