Be on the lookout for fake airbags -


Have you checked your airbags?

When mechanics at Quality Collision repair vehicles in their shop, the owner says they take the job seriously, because every day they see what can happen when a vehicle crashes: Thousands of dollars in damage, or worse, the loss of life.

That's why Tony Smith says only greed would drive someone to sell a counterfeit airbag.

"Oh, they are making a killing. A typical airbag will run anywhere from $600 and $1000 to maybe $2000 for a high-end car and they are purchasing them for $50 to $75," said Smith.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is investigating the sale of counterfeit airbags. Partnering with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and border patrol among other agencies to track down where they're coming from.

The administration has found the bags don't always inflate when you're involved in a crash, and in some cases, shrapnel is projected when they do go off.

Dozens of makes and models of cars are on the government's list to be aware of. 

And consumers most at risk have had an airbag repaired during the past 3 years at a shop not affiliated with a dealership.

It's a reason why Smith says he always purchases his airbags directly from the manufacturer.

And as for consumers, Smith recommends you find a reputable shop and do a little work on your end as well. "I would go as far as to ask for the deployed bags and all the components, computers and sensors that were installed. And then to see the invoices and even go as far as calling the dealership that they purchased them from."

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration believes that only about 1-percent of the U.S. vehicle fleet is affected, but they expect that to increase.

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