The United State States auto industry loses approximately $3 billion a year to counterfeit parts. One of the most dangerous counterfeits is counterfeit airbags. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a consumer safety advisory to alert vehicle owners and repair professionals to the dangers of counterfeit air bags in 2012. The problem emerged as the result of the sale of counterfeit air bags for use as replacement parts in vehicles that had been involved in a crash. While these air bags looked nearly identical to certified, original equipment parts—including bearing the insignia and branding of major automakers — NHTSA testing showed consistent malfunctioning ranging from non-deployment of the air bag to the expulsion of metal shrapnel during deployment.
Concerned consumers should contact the car manufacturer’s call center. The full list of call centers and additional information are available at www.SaferCar.gov.