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Counterfeit Air Bags Pose Major Safety Hazard

Posted on Oct 29, 2012

This month the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a safety advisory to alert vehicle owners and repair professionals about counterfeit air bags. 

The NHTSA found that counterfeit air bags have been used to replace air bags that deployed in a motor vehicle accident. These replacements look almost identical to certified parts and may contain the logo and branding of national car manufacturers. NHTSA testing showed that these air bags malfunction consistently—either by not deploying or by expelling metal shrapnel.

Car manufacturers have set up call centers to field questions about the counterfeit air bags. A full list of these centers and additional information about the issue is available at

The following are risk factors for having a counterfeit air bag:

  • Consumer had the air bag replaced within the last three years at a repair shop not affiliated with a new car dealer
  • Consumer purchased a used car that may have had an air bag replacement in the last three years
  • Consumer owns a car with a title identified as salvage, rebuilt or reconstructed
  • Consumer purchased replacement air bags from eBay or other non-certified source

The full extent of the counterfeit air bag problem is not yet known. The NHTSA believes that less than 0.1 percent of cars in the United States are affected.

The Harrisburg injury attorneys at Schmidt Kramer are following this story very closely. If you think your vehicle may have a counterfeit air bag, contact the manufacturer’s call center for additional information and advice.  If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car crash, contact a Harrisburg car accident lawyer at (717) 888-8888 for a free consultation. You may also wish to download a free copy of our book Who Pays the Bills When You Are Injured in an Automobile Accident? for more information.