The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has become aware of a problem involving the sale of counterfeit air bags for use as replacement parts in vehicles that have been involved in a crash. While these air bags look 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. NHTSA is not aware of any deaths or injuries connected to counterfeit air bags.
While the full scope and scale of the problem of counterfeit air bags is uncertain from currently available data, 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.
Consumers whose vehicles have been in a crash and had their air bags replaced by a repair shop that is not part of a new car dealership within the past three years or who have purchased a replacement air bag online should contact the call center that has been established by their auto manufacturer to have their vehicle inspected at their own expense and their air bag replaced if necessary. The full list of all call centers and additional information are available at NHTSA website.
CONSUMERS THAT SHOULD NOT BE AT RISK
- Consumers who purchased their vehicle new and have not had their air bags replaced
- Consumers who have full knowledge of the entire history of their used vehicle (including knowing whether the vehicle had been in a crash in the last three years and being certain that the air bag was replaced at a new car dealership)
CONSUMERS THAT MAY BE AT RISK AND SHOULD CONTACT THE CALL CENTER ESTABLISHED BY THEIR AUTO MANUFACTURER
- Consumers who have had air bags replaced within the past three years at a repair shop that is not part of a new car dealership
- Consumers who have purchased a used car that may have sustained an air bag deployment before their purchase
- Consumers who own a car with a title branded salvage, rebuilt, or reconstructed
- Consumers who have purchased replacement air bags from eBay or other non-certified sources—especially if they were purchased at unusually low prices (i.e. less than $400).
The lawyers at Liever, Hyman & Potter, P.C., are concerned for the safety of automobile drivers and passengers in Berks County and Schuylkill County and throughout Pennsylvania, and serve accident victims and their families in Reading, PA, Pottsville, PA and surrounding communities in Berks County and Schuylkill County.
From the desk of Adam K. Levin, Esquire