|NHTSA warns of counterfeit airbags|
|News - Collision Repair|
|Thursday, 11 October 2012 14:35|
By Mike Davey
Washington, D.C. -- October 11, 2012 -- A new report from the U.S.-based National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warns that numerous airbags installed in the last three years may be counterfeit.
The counterfeit air bags have been sold for use as replacement parts in vehicles that have been involved in a collision. The counterfeit airbags look almost identical to OE parts, down to the insignia and branding. However, the airbags are not merely counterfeit, but dangerous as well. Testing by the NHTSA showed consistent malfunctioning ranging from non-deployment of the air bag to the expulsion of metal shrapnel during deployment. No deaths or injuries have so been reported in connection with counterfeit air bags.
It’s impossible at this stage to determine the exact scope and scale of the problem. NHTSA has identified certain vehicle makes and models for which these air bags may be available and believes this issue affects less than 0.1 percent of the U.S. vehicle fleet. Only vehicles which have had an air bag replaced within the past three years by a repair shop that is not part of a new car dealership may be at risk.
“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.”
There have been no reports of counterfeit airbags so far in Canada. Transport Canada has not received any complaints and is not aware of any deaths or injuries.
“The Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Act does not regulate aftermarket vehicle parts, including air bags. Aftermarket parts and service are regulated by provincial and territorial governments,” said Transport Canada spokeswoman Maryse Durette. “Nonetheless, the safety of Canadian motorists is paramount for the Government of Canada. Transport Canada does investigate suspected safety-related manufacturing defects in vehicles and wants to know about these issues.”
Repairers who would like to report a suspected safety-related defect are asked to fill in Transport Canada’s online complaint form found here, or call 1-800-333-0510.
© Copyright 2012 Collision Repair magazine
|Last Updated on Friday, 12 October 2012 09:57|
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