Replacement airbags in used cars killed 3 people and maimed 2, federal authorities warn

Airbag recall still a concern for thousands of vehicles


Airbag recall still a concern for thousands of vehicles

03:11

The replacement of airbags in used cars in the U.S. has killed three people and caused life-changing, disfiguring injuries to two others in the past nine months, federal officials warned Wednesday.

The deaths and injuries are the result of vehicles previously involved in crashes where the original airbags were replaced with defective airbags, most of which were manufactured overseas, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a consumer magazine. warning.

“These dangerous aftermarket parts ruptured in subsequent crashes, sending large metal fragments into drivers' chests, necks, eyes and faces. Drivers were killed or seriously injured in otherwise survivable crashes,” NHTSA said.

Such replacement parts are often made by foreign companies with poor reputations for quality and are typically sold at prices far below the cost of original equipment, the agency said. The parts responsible for the three deaths and other injuries have been called “defective, cheap, imported aftermarket airbag inflators.”

According to regulators, the parts are often ordered online, shipped to the U.S. and installed at less reputable repair shops. NHTSA urged people who own or buy a used vehicle to learn about its history to make sure it has original airbag inflators, since an inadequate replacement part could kill or seriously injure them in a crash.

“In addition, these inflators may deploy only partially or too slowly, leaving the occupant's head unprotected from impact with the steering wheel or dashboard,” the agency said.

More specifically, NHTSA advises people to:

  • Obtain a vehicle history report. If the vehicle has been reported in a crash where the airbag deployed, motorists should visit a reputable independent mechanic or dealer for an airbag inspection to ensure the parts are original.
  • Deal with reputable independent mechanics and manufacturer dealers. When considering buying from a private seller, request a vehicle history report and have the vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic.
  • When servicing your vehicle, ask about replacement parts, including the brand and origin of the parts.
  • Be careful when buying auto parts online from overseas retailers or if they are sold at prices significantly lower than competitors.

If used car owners are concerned that they are driving a car with a defective replacement pump, the government advises them to contact their brand's dealer or a reputable mechanic to determine if the parts need to be replaced.

Owners of vehicles with any of the suspected inflators should contact their local police. Homeland Security Investigations office or FBI Field Office to report it. Complaints can also be filed onlineConsumers can also contact NHTSA online or by calling the agency's hotline at (888) 327-4236 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

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