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October 19, 2012
Feds warn about risks of counterfeit air bags

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a consumer safety advisory on the dangers of counterfeit air bags.

The problem involves the sale of air bags for use as replacement parts in vehicles that have been involved in a crash.

Although the equipment looks nearly identical to certified, original parts (including automaker branding), NHTSA testing showed consistent malfunctioning. Problems ranged from failure to deploy to the expulsion of metal shrapnel during deployment.

Employers whose company-owned vehicles have been in a crash and had the bags repaired by a shop that is not part of a new car dealership within the past 3 years, or who have purchased a replacement bag online, should call a call center for further instructions. To identify the correct call center, visit

NHTSA has been working with other government agencies to better understand the issue of counterfeit air bags and how to prevent them from being purchased and installed in vehicles.

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