If you’ve had your air bags replaced within the last three years by a repair shop other than a new car dealership, you may want to take heed of a warning that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is releasing.
According to NHTSA, “tens of thousands or counterfeit air bags” have been installed in vehicles on the road today. A consumer safety advisory is being issued to warn vehicle owners and body shops to the potential dangers with these fake air bags.
In the past few months, NHTSA has conducted tests on 11 counterfeit air bags. The majority of them didn’t work, or only partially worked – some even threw out shrapnel. And while this advisory might cause many vehicle owners to panic, NHTSA does stress that the issue “affects less than 0.1 percent of the U.S. vehicle fleet.”
Unfortunately, replacing the air bag will come out of the vehicle owner’s pocket. If you’ve had your air bag replaced through a body shop that isn’t part of a new car dealership, or purchased a replacement air bag online, you should contact the automakers’ call centers to have your vehicle inspected.
The counterfeit air bags were mostly manufactured in China and feature the same trademark emblems you could find on the real deal. The worst part of this report is that not only did people knowingly sell counterfeit air bags to body shops, body shops had no problems purchasing them since they were significantly cheaper – some were less than 10 percent of a legitimate air bag cost.
[Source: Detroit News]