The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has discovered that some evildoers are out there in the American marketplace, selling phony air bags as car parts – and that these fake air bags are very dangerous defective products because in a crash, they will not deploy properly – if they even inflate at all.
NHTSA reports that the fake air bags are cleverly packaged: it’s hard to tell the real from the counterfeit product. The phony air bags have the same insignias as the real thing, for example. Sneaky stuff.
It’s still being investigated by the federal agency, and right now no one knows how many of these fake air bags are out there in cars or trucks or SUVs driven by unsuspecting people, people thinking that if they were to be in an accident, they and their passengers would be protected by the vehicle’s safety devices. No numbers yet on whether anyone has been killed by these fake air bags not doing their job, either.
It’s only cars that have had an air bag replaced within the last THREE YEARS that are at risk of having a fake air bag installed in them. If you or a loved one has had a vehicle repaired anywhere other than a dealership (where they use parts straight from the manufacturer), then you may be at risk. According to NHTSA, you should probably check your air bags if:
- have had air bags replaced within the past three years at a repair shop that is not part of a new car dealership
- have purchased a used car that may have sustained an air bag deployment before their purchase
- own a car with a title branded salvage, rebuilt, or reconstructed
- have purchased replacement air bags from eBay or other non-certified sources—especially if they were purchased at unusually low prices (i.e. less than $400)
Vehicle makes that may be at risk here include: Acura, Audi, BMW, Buick, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Hyandai, Infiniti, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo.