Counterfeit airbags pose threat to motorists
Most or all of the faulty safety devices apparentlycome from China, according to the government, which estimates that “tens of thousands of counterfeit air bags” have been placed in American automobiles as they were repaired following serious accident in which the original bags in the vehicle had deployed
“We want consumers to be immediately aware of this problem and to review our safety information to see if their vehicle could be in need of inspection,” said a statement by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood issued ahead of today’s formal announcement.
“Air bags in particular play a central role in keeping drivers and passengers safe in the event of a crash,” noted Administrator David Strickland of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Each of a vehicle’s airbags is designed to operate in a specific way and may inflate to varying degrees depending on the severity of a crash. The fakes that the government is warning about likely will not function properly if they work at all.
NHTSA said it believes the vast majority of replacement parts are genuine and that “this issue affects less than 0.1 percent of the U.S. vehicle fleet.”
But recent tests of 11 fakes found that the majority either failed to work or inflated improperly and some actually threw shrapnel as they inflated.
Toyota noted If the vehicle has never had the airbag(s) replaced, there is no need to be concerned or if the airbag was replaced by a Toyota or Lexus dealer under warranty, there is no need to be concerned.
However, If the airbag(s) have been replaced at any repair facility, you should request that repair facility to provide documentation that a genuine Toyota replacement airbag was used. By Joseph Szczesny