I wrote about a national consumer alert warning about fake airbags last fall. Popular technology web site c|net recently took a look at the NHTSA safety advisory on counterfeit airbags and asked: Is your airbag your enemy?
Danger of Aftermarket Auto Parts
Insurance companies routinely claim that recycled, reused, and/or aftermarket parts are of "like kind and quality" to original equipment (OEM) parts. In fact, many insurance companies try to require such parts (if state law permits them) when making repairs. However, most car makers warn that using aftermarket or salvaged parts may put vehicle owners at risk in an accident or collision. The testing and most recent warning from NHTSA seems to bear this out.
On November 30, 2010, Toyota announced that it recommend against the use of alternative parts for the repair of Toyota vehicles. “Toyota’s recommendation is to use only OEM parts due to the lack of testing and potential safety and performance risk of alternative parts,” according to Toyota’s press release.
Ford Motor Company issued its own press release regarding non-OEM parts just a day earlier. Ford’s aftermarket parts warning included the results of tests performed by Ford’s Material Composition and Computer Aided Engineering department comparing OEM bumper beams, bumper isolators, bumper brackets, and radiator supports to their aftermarket equivalents.
The Ford tests found major differences between genuine Ford original equipment replacement parts and aftermarket copies. Ford found that non-OEM parts performed differently in crash tests because the aftermarket parts were not of like kind and quality as Ford’s original equipment and certified replacement parts.
The risk of counterfeit air bags includes nearly every major make and model. NHTSA has provided additional information and a full list of call centers at www.SaferCar.gov.
- Safety Advisory: NHTSA Alerting Consumers to Dangers of Counterfeit Air Bags [NHTSA]
- Government Regulators Warn of Counterfeit Air Bag Hazards; Say Air Bags May Not Inflate [Kansas City Legal Examiner]
- "Altered Reality": Hidden Dangers of Modified Products and After-Market Components [Journal of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association]
© Copyright 2013 Brett A. Emison.
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Brett Emison is currently a partner at Langdon & Emison, a firm dedicated to helping injured victims across the country from their primary office near Kansas City. Mainly focusing on catastrophic injury and death cases as well as complex mass tort and dangerous drug cases, Mr. Emison often deals with automotive defects, automobile crashes, railroad crossing accidents (train accidents), trucking accidents, dangerous and defective drugs, defective medical devices.