NHTSA finds proliferation of counterfeit airbagsWed, 10 Oct 2012 00:00:00 -0700
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s NHTSA issued a safety warning about counterfeit airbags on Wednesday. The agency has become aware of a problem involving fake airbags used for replacement parts.
NHTSA says the bags can look identical to the real thing. According to NHTSA, malfunctioning can range from non-deployment to—when the airbags do deploy—the expulsion of metal shrapnel. The full scope of the problem is unknown, but estimates say the issue affects less than 0.1 percent of the U.S. vehicle fleet. Cars with airbags that have been replaced in the past three years are most at risk.
Consumers who have had their airbags replaced at any place other than a dealership in the past three years should call the customer-care line of the automaker and have their vehicle inspected. NHTSA also says consumers who have purchased a used car should get airbags checked, as well as consumers that bought an airbag for an unusually low price (i.e., under $400).
NHTSA is working with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Dept. of Justice to figure out how to protect consumers from the damaged items.
“Organized criminals are selling dangerous counterfeit and substandard airbags to consumers and suppliers with little to no regard to hazardous health and safety consequences,” said ICE director John Morton. “We will continue to aggressively investigate criminal supply chains with our law enforcement and private industry partners, and bring these criminals to justice.”
The full list of vehicles for which counterfeit bags may be available can be found here.
By Jake Lingeman