American drivers of cars that have had their original airbags replaced in the last three years, should have their cars inspected, and possibly the airbags replaced at their own expense, warns the NHTSA. In the usual bout to save money, hundred of thousands of vehicles may have had Chinese made counterfeit airbags installed as replacements while repairing collision damage.
The agency warns that they’ve tested 11 counterfeit bags and out of the 11, 10 didn’t deploy properly, and one even exploded, violently sending shards of material all over a crash test dummy’s face as you can see in the hilarious video below.
While the premise of an explosive airbag blowing up a test dummy’s face may be funny, such an event is much less comical when your aunt Louise is on the receiving end of the explosion. The NHTCA deems the counterfit airbags to be an extreme risk with over 1.5 million airbags deployed each year in traffic accidents.
They also warn that for now, it’s difficult to evaluate the number of cars that may have been retrofitted with these Wil-E-Coyote airbags but they’ve started compiling a list of potential vehicles, a list that will evolve with time.
If a car model is on the list and has had its airbags replaced during the past three years by a repair shop other than a new car dealership, NHTSA is asking owners to take the vehicle into a dealership or repair shop to be inspected at their own expense to determine whether the replaced airbags are counterfeit.