NHTSA issues a safety advisory warning consumers of counterfeit air bags
WASHINGTON-- The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been alerted of a problem involving the sale of counterfeit air bags used as replacement parts in vehicles that have been involved in a crash within the last three years.
The airbags look nearly identical to certified, original equipment parts, including bearing the insignia and branding of major automakers, NHTSA testing showed consistent malfunctioning ranging from non-deployment of the air bag to the expulsion of metal shrapnel during deployment. A list of all vehicles covered can be found here.
“Anytime equipment that is critical to protecting drivers and passengers fails to operate properly, it is a serious safety concern,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We want consumers to be immediately aware of this problem and to review our safety information to see if their vehicle could be in need of inspection.”
NHTSA has been working with a number of government agencies, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Department of Justice, to better understand the issue of counterfeit air bags and how to prevent them from being purchased and installed in vehicles. ICE Director John Morton says, “Organized criminals are selling dangerous counterfeit and substandard airbags to consumers and suppliers with little to no regard to hazardous health and safety consequences.
NHTSA is currently gathering information from automakers about their systems for verifying the authenticity of replacement parts and is working with the industry to make the driving public aware of the potential safety risk posed by counterfeit air bags. Moving forward, the agency will continue to monitor consumer complaints, police accident reports, and other sources for additional information.
If your vehicle can be found on the government website, you should contact your designated call center as soon as possible in order to avoid any potential injuries.