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Counterfeit Airbags

As consumers, we want to believe what we are buying and using is legitimate and safe. However, far too often we have heard stories of a faulty device or an unreliable product due to someone else’s misfortune.  As recently reported on ABC News’ 20/20, counterfeit items have been the topic of a conversation—one of these items being that of airbags.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently become aware of a “problem involving the sale of counterfeit air bags for use as replacement parts in vehicles that have been involved in a crash.” The NHTSA testing of these materials have shown that although the materials look identical to the certified and original parts, they are indeed faulty. Some of the issues noted were deployment of the air bag to the ejection of metal shrapnel.

Because this topic is so new, it has been extremely difficult to calculate the statistics of how many of these fake or counterfeit airbags have resulted in deaths or injuries, but authorities are working to understand the full scope of the problem. While we know counterfeit airbags are being used across the country, all affected vehicle makes and models have yet to be identified. However, while the NHTSA is working to identify this information, all vehicles are at risk.

In the meantime, the NHTSA has released the following suggestions to consumers so they are made aware of the risks:


  •  Consumers who purchased their vehicle new and have not had their air bags replaced
  • Consumers who have full knowledge of the entire history of their used vehicle (including knowing whether the vehicle had been in a crash in the last three (3) years and are certain that the air bag was replaced at a new car dealership)


Consumers who have had their air bags replaced within the past three (3) years at a repair shop that is not part of a new car dealership


  • Consumers who have purchased a used car that may have sustained an air bag deployment before their purchase
  • Consumers who own a car with a title branded salvage, rebuilt, or reconstructed
  • Consumers who 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)


Please take a moment to cross check your vehicle and its air bag—especially a vehicle that has been purchased used or involved in a car accident. We don’t want you or your family members to suffer the consequences of a counterfeit part in your vehicle. 

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