NHTSA Warns Drivers About Counterfeit Airbags - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

NHTSA Warns Drivers About Counterfeit Airbags

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Do your air bags really work? That's the question government officials asked drivers Wednesday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is warning motorists and car repair shops about the sale of counterfeit air bags.

Officials with the NHTSA say the counterfeit airbags have been used as replacement parts in vehicles that have been involved in a crash within the last three years. While they might look identical to your car's original, certified airbag, the counterfeits are not even close. Testing by the NHTSA found some of the counterfeit airbags failed to deploy at all, while others discharged metal shrapnel during deployment.

Officials say consumers who have a new car, have not been in a wreck, and take their car to a dealer are not at risk. However, if you have recently bought a used car that could have been in an accident, or paid less than $2,000 for an air bag replacement you could be affected. Officials say to check if your airbags are real or fake,drivers need to take their vehicle to a certified dealer.

"Typically what we are going to have to do is disassemble the unit and then remove the airbag and take a look at the codes on the back of the bag, to make sure it matches with the make of your vehicle," said Tom Pospisil, General Manager of Eriksen Chevrolet and Buick.

Pospisil said that costs about $100 to do. He says another thing driver's should pay attention to is their air bag light. He says if it never comes on, stays on all the time, or is flashing, that indicates there could be a problem.

Meanwhile, several local independent shops we talked with say they order their parts straight from the dealer to make sure they are safe. They say if you are concerned about where your parts are coming from, you mechanic should be able to show you exactly where they were purchased.

The NHTSA is not aware of any injuries or deaths from the counterfeit airbags and officials say the problem affects less than one percent of the driving population. To find out if your vehicle is on a list of cars impacted click go to http://www.safercar.gov @@@@