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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s a warning from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration — counterfeit air bags are being sold and installed in American cars.

Video from the feds shows how poorly counterfeit air bags preform if you’re ever in a head-on collision. Tests showed the air bags either didn’t fully deploy or exploded, throwing shrapnel at the driver.

Although the feds say they don’t yet know of any deaths caused by these bogus air bags, they believe they are enough of a threat that they are telling car owners who may be at risk to contact the auto manufacture call center for their vehicle to determine whether they need to have their air bag inspected.


According to the website, anyone who has had their air bag replaced in the last three years, people who purchased a used car that might have been in an accident causing the air bag to deployed and replaced and people who have who bought an air bag on eBay or through another source that wasn’t from an original equipment manufacturer like General Motors, Ford or Chrysler.

Many of these counterfeit air bags sell on line for $400 — less than half the price of a real air bag. So far, the feds have received reports of counterfeit air bags (all marked to look like they are from the three major automakers) in 21 different makes of car. The time to discover whether your’s is one of them is before you get in an accident.

For more information and for a list of auto manufacture call centers, go to