Tuesday 16th July 2013
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Criminals can’t wait to get their hands on your cash by using forgery, fraud and fakery to sell you goods. This has led to a growing number of fake car airbags entering the market that could even kill when they are deployed during a crash. In fact, it’s really shocking the level of injury that could result in the use of these fake airbags.

Every year in the UK 200,000 people are injured in some kind of road traffic accident.

1 in 100 of this figure has proven to actually be fatal. The seatbelt has been a great invention and help to reduce those numbers, and the airbag even more.

We now know that car parts that are counterfeited can really be quite a safety problem however, with parts such as the airbag this is a critical issue. It can even become a matter of life and death.

Airbags are located in the steering wheel, passenger-side dashboard and in newer cars around the inside panels of the car and behind the front seats to help protect you in an accident.

Upon impact they immediately release an air filled cushion to soften any blow that you could receive.

Recently in America there was a national scandal over criminals that had invaded the parts market selling counterfeit airbags. The problem is they were being sold almost identical to the factory equivalents.

So, where do these fake airbags come from?

Well, they in fact mainly come from China. The sad thing is they are not just putting the lives of American drivers at risk but actually the problem is becoming worldwide including here in the UK.

Dave Hodgeson is the Managing Director of Honda UK and he thinks that fake airbags have already found their way into British cars. He recently stated that he has found evidence that fake parts are being imported into Britain and they range from parts such as oil filters, air filters, brake pads to much more expensive items like alloy wheels or indeed airbags.

It’s the rise in internet trading that is fuelling the problem of fake parts being sold here in the UK. Today online there is a huge number of safety parts that are for sale but many of them may not be the original manufactured part and therefore present a risk.

Genuine airbags are glistening with the latest technology. They are designed to save the cars occupants in the event of a crash. They are deployed with the exact timing to cushion any blow even keeping a large water melon in tact when dropped from a large height. This was one of Honda’s recent tests. But, what might a fake airbag do in a crash? Well, in Honda’s melon test the melon actually smashed to pieces and completely exploded with no release of the airbag itself. This is a major concern as fake airbags may not even inflate properly and could have the power to cause more injury in their own right. Even if the airbag did deploy, in effect it just blows apart with a sudden rush of loose fragments into the air at the same time in the direction of the person. Basically instead of the airbag inflating properly it just blows up!

The explosive fragments become seriously hot and can cause additional burns to the person on impact. It certainly would not have produced any protection from the accident, but actually produced more injury to add to the accident.

More of these fake airbags are being found on Britain's roads after crash investigators have visited the accident.

The sale of these problem airbags is now affecting all major manufacturers not just Honda.

So, how do you avoid falling victim to the fakers?

Well, when you are looking to replace a critical safety part such as the airbag it may always be worth going to the original manufacturing dealer who you can be sure will fit the safety tested and approved part. You could opt for secondhand from a breaker, however you would need the seller to confirm in writing that it is an original OEM part when dismantled from the vehicle.