You wouldn’t know you had counterfeit airbags until the event of an accident. The Obama administration warned Wednesday that many motorists may be driving cars or trucks installed with dangerous counterfeit airbags.
The motorists at risk the most are those that have had their airbags replaced within the past three years by a repair shop other than a dealer. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 250,000 cars on the road of different makes and models are said to have the counterfeit bags.
In tests done by the government last month, 10 out of 11 bags tested did not inflate or failed to inflate improperly, and one test revealed a counterfeit bag that shot flames and shards of metal at the crash dummy. Currently, no deaths or injuries have been reported or linked to counterfeit bags.
The NHTSA is asking owners that believe they have faulty airbags to check the government website, www.Safercar.gov, for more information on how to contact the auto manufacturer call centers.
The government says the problem is not a result of a manufacturing defect by an automaker and is not being recalled. The repairs for the counterfeit airbags will come out of the consumer’s pocket due to the counterfeiter’s bad actions. Government officials have said they believe the bags came from China. The bags were marketed to the repair shops as the real deal. Auto dealerships are required to buy their franchise agreed products and are unlikely to have installed the counterfeit air bags.
According to the US Attorney’s office, Dai Zhensong, a Chinese citizen, was sentenced in a Federal court last February for pleading guilty to trafficking counterfeit airbags. In 2010 he traveled to Tennessee to sell the counterfeit airbags and other auto parts for a company called Guangzhou Auto Parts.
Consumers are being asked to see an auto dealership to have their airbags replaced to avoid further problems.
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