The government has recently warned against something called “counterfeit airbags.” These airbags have been found either to deploy incorrectly or not at all. The problem could affect tens of thousands of drivers. Roughly 250,000 cars on the road are compatible with counterfeit airbags.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), you may be at risk of having faulty, counterfeit airbags if:

  • You’ve gotten your airbags replaced within the last 3 years at a repair shop separate from a new car dealership.
  • You’ve purchased a used car that may have had an airbag deployment before you bought it.
  • You own a salvaged, rebuilt, or reconstructed car.
  • You’ve purchased replacement airbags from non-certified sources, like Ebay or Craigslist.

The car also has to be one of the makes and models for which counterfeit airbags are available. The NHTSA provides a specific list of what types of cars are at risk. And if the airbags were unusually cheap, you may be at special risk. Anything less than $400 should be considered a red flag.

If you believe you may be driving around with counterfeit airbags, you should contact one of the call centers set up by the NHTSA. They can help you set up a vehicle inspection and let you know if you need to replace your airbags. Unfortunately, you have to pay the cost of the inspection, since the problem usually arises from buying airbags that weren’t certified by the auto manufacturer.

I found that some of the phone numbers available through the NHTSA don’t go through or make you wait for a long time. If you find the same thing, contact the local new car dealership of the brand you own to get started with an inspection.

If a car malfunction injures you or a family member, I can help with the legal issues that follow. Contact me to discuss your situation.

And read my article about what is going on when airbags don’t deploy.