If you got a great deal on your replacement air bag, it may be a fake.
Federal safety regulators on Wednesday warned that thousands of car owners may be driving with unsafe, counterfeit air bags.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a video of a counterfeit air bag exploding rather than inflating, sending flames and shrapnel at the head of the crash-test dummy.
The fake airbags could be installed on a small number of late-model cars that were repaired after an accident that deployed their factory-installed air bags. NHTSA says the counterfeits were available for only a small number of models (the full list is below), and only over the last three years.The agency is warning:
- Drivers who have had air bags replaced within the last three years, but not at a new-car dealership.
- Drivers who have purchased a used car that may have had an air bag-deploying crash. (Carfax, which sells vehicle-history reports to used-car buyers, has set up a free air-bag deployment check.)
- Drivers who own a car with a branded title, sometimes called salvage, rebuilt or reconstructed.
- Drivers who bought replacement air bags through eBay or other non-certified sources, especially at very low prices.