Thousands of motorists may be driving cars and trucks installed with dangerous counterfeit bags and they should have them replaced at their own expense, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In government tests last month of 11 counterfeit bags, 10 failed to inflate properly or didn’t inflate at all.
In one test, a counterfeit bag shot flames and shards of metal shrapnel at a crash dummy instead of inflating. Government investigators believe many of the bags come from China. Auto dealerships that operate their own body shops are usually required to buy airbags directly from automakers. But only 37 percent of auto dealers have their own body shops, according to the automobile dealers association. Many consumers whose vehicles have been damaged are referred by their insurance companies to auto body shops that aren’t affiliated with an automaker.