NHTSA Issues Warning about Counterfeit Chinese Airbags Used in Auto Repairs
October 10, 2012 9:01 AM
Goodness gracious, great balls of FIAH!
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a warning to all consumers in the U.S. that have had automobiles repaired after collisions that required airbag replacement. According to the NHTSA, millions of cars that were repaired could have counterfeit Chinese airbags that may not function properly.
NHTSA officials believe that "tens of thousands of counterfeit airbags" may be used in vehicles that were repaired in the U.S. NHTSA officials also say that the majority, if not all, of the replacement airbags were made in China.
"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," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.
The NHTSA says that it is not aware of any deaths or injuries connected to the counterfeit airbags at this time.
The counterfeit airbags cost less than 10% of the price of a legit part. [Image Source: Paramount Pictures]
The list of vehicles that could have counterfeit airbags installed has nearly 100 different vehicles, including some very popular cars. The list of vehicles that could potentially have counterfeit airbags includes the Toyota Camry,
, Honda Accord,
, Chevrolet Volt,
, and the
Drivers of vehicles that have had an airbag replaced within the last three years by a repair shop that is not part of a new car dealership could be at risk according to the warning. The counterfeit airbags look nearly identical to certified original equipment replacement parts and even have insignia and branding of major automakers.
The NHTSA conducted a test of 11 counterfeit airbags. During the tests, the majority of these airbags didn't work or only partially worked. Some the airbags threw shrapnel towards the driver during an accident. The counterfeit airbags were sold to repair shops for between $50 and $70 while legitimate parts cost between $700 and $1,000.
This isn't the first time China has been accused of producing counterfeit products for U.S. consumption. The U.S. alleges that
counterfeit Chinese electronics have shown up in its military aircraft
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