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Collision Repair: Are You at Risk for Getting a Counterfeit Airbag?

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If you have ever been involved in an accident where the airbags were deployed, then you'll understand just how important these safety features are. That's why you need to be particularly careful regarding whether the airbags that were replaced in your car during the collision repair are authentic or counterfeit products. Licensed collision repair shops are generally able to easily spot counterfeit airbags from a mile away, so it's always a good idea to rely on the advise of these professionals.

The Problem with Counterfeit Airbags

Although the counterfeit airbags may look identical to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) ones, they are not of the same quality and cannot perform at the same level as expected from authentic airbags. The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported cases where counterfeit airbags failed to deploy during an accident, causing injuries and death, exploded out of nowhere and harmed the driver and passengers, and sent metal shrapnel into the passenger cabin when it did deploy at the right time.

As you can see, having counterfeit airbags installed to your car during a collision repair can be quite problematic for you in the future. Both you and your passengers will not be protected in the event of an accident. This may result in not only injuries, but also fatalities. Because of this, it's important to make sure that you are getting authentic airbags whenever you bring your car in for a collision repair.

Signs You May Have Been Given a Counterfeit

If you have recently purchased a new car, then you really don't have to worry about counterfeit airbags. You should only be concerned if you had your vehicle repaired recently because of a collision, and if you did not get your airbags from a licensed collision repair shop. If you're wondering whether your airbags are a counterfeit or not, here are some signs licensed collision repair shops should look for in when replacing your airbags:

  • differences in the texture of the vinyl material of the trim cover
  • differences in the color of the airbags
  • the lack of tear seams or slight depressions in the vinyl materials. These are flap doors that will open when the airbags are deployed
  • the absence of an airbag warning light being illuminated when the ignition is turned on
  • any signs that the airbags were trimmed or altered to better fit the steering wheel or the installed location

Since there are counterfeits listed on the market, it's important that you purchase OEM products preferably through a licensed collision repair shop rather than through an anonymous online merchant. Getting your vehicle professionally repaired will also ensure the airbags are installed properly.

You should also be wary of any used cars that you may purchase in the upcoming years. Always be wary of any cars that are branded as rebuilt, reconstructed or salvaged. You also want to do some digging when purchasing a used car to determine whether it has ever been involved in an accident. If it has, determine whether the airbags went off at any given time. If you're not sure whether your newly purchased used car possesses an OEM airbag or not, you can easily find out at a dealership or even at a collision repair shop.

If you believe that there is a problem with the airbags and you might not have an authentic part installed onto your car, bring it into a dealership or even to a collision repair shop and get it inspected by a professional. It's important that you take this matter seriously. Whether or not you have an authentic airbag may end up saving your life if you are involved in a collision.