NHTSA: Beware of counterfeit airbags

NHTSA counterfeit airbag testThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a consumer safety advisory regarding counterfeit airbags. These airbags, which the NHTSA says are installed at third party repair shops, can malfunction and jeopardize the lives of vehicle occupants in a crash.

According to the NHTSA, car owners who have been in a crash may have had their airbags replaced with counterfeits. The counterfeit parts look like original equipment, right down to fake manufacturer logos.

However, the counterfeit airbags are not made to the same standards as genuine parts, and have consistently malfunctioned in tests. In a crash, these fake airbags may not deploy, or they may expel metal shrapnel if they do. In one test, an airbag separated from its mounting point, showering the vehicle occupants with sparks from the bag’s pyrotechnics.

While it does not know the full scope of the problem, at the moment the NHTSA estimates that a very small number (0.1 percent) of American vehicles have counterfeit airbags. The NHTSA is not aware of any deaths or injuries due to counterfeit airbags.

The NHTSA is urging consumers whose vehicle has been in a crash within the last three years, and who have had the airbags replaced by a shop that is not part of a new car dealership, to call the manufacturer and have the replacement parts inspected. The safety advisory also applies to anyone who bought a replacement airbag online.

If the manufacturer finds a counterfeit airbag, vehicle owners will need to have it replaced at their own expense.

Consumers who purchased their cars new and have not been in a crash, and people who own a used car that has not had its airbags replaced in the last three years, shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

So far, the NHTSA is aware of counterfeit airbags being made for the following makes and models:

Acura: 2009-2011 TSX

Audi: 2006-2009 A3, A4, A6, A8, Q5, Q7

BMW: 2004-2011 5 Series; 2007-2011 3 Series, X5; 2011-2012 X3

Buick: 2010-2011 Lacrosse

Chevrolet: 2011-2012 Cruze, Volt; 2006-2010 Aveo; 2012 Camaro

Ford: 2012 Focus; 2005-2009 Mustang

Honda: 2003-2012 Accord; 2006-2011 Civic; 2002-2011 CRV; 2007-2011 Fit; 2009-2011 Pilot, Insight; 2010-2011 Crosstour; 2011 Odyssey

Hyundai: 2007-2011 Elantra; (not listed) Genesis, Sonata

Infiniti: 2007-2011 G35/37, EX35

Kia: 2010-2011 Soul, Forte; 2004-2009 Spectra

Land Rover: 2012 Range Rover Evoque

Lexus: 2006-2011 IS; 2003-2008 GX470; 2007-2009 RX350; (not listed) ES350

 Mazda: 2004, 2010-2012 Mazda3

Mercedes: 2009-2011 C-Class, GLK; 2010-2011 E-Class; 2007-2008 S550; 2006-2010 ML; 2009-2010 GL

Mitsubishi: (not listed) Outlander

Nissan: 1992-2002, Quest; 2010-2011 Quest; 2009-2011 Cube; 2007-2011 Versa; 2009-2010 Murano; (not listed) Altima

Subaru: 2008-2009 Forester, Impreza, Outback; 2010-2011 Legacy

Suzuki: 2007-2010 SX4

Toyota: 2002-2006, 2012 Camry; 2009-2011 Corolla, Matrix; 2007-2011 Yaris, Tundra; 2004-2011 Highlander, Sienna, Tacoma; 2010-2012 Prius; 2003-2006 Tundra, Sequoia; 2003-2010 Land Cruiser; 2004-2010 Highlander; 2004-2009 4Runner; 2007-2009 Solara; 2005-2011 RAV4

Volkswagen: 2006-2010 Jetta

Volvo: (not listed) XC60, XC70, V70, S60, S80

The NHTSA is advising all consumers, even ones whose cars do not appear on this list, to have their vehicles inspected if their airbags have been replaced in the last three years. In addition, a vehicle may not have counterfeit airbags just because it is on this list, it just means the NHTSA has found counterfeits made for that model. A full list of manufacturer call centers is available at the NHTSA’s website.

Mobile

Apple stomps on one FaceTime bug, only to have another one appear

Having fixed a FaceTime bug that let users eavesdrop on calls, another issue with Apple's video chat app appears to have surfaced. It concerns adding people to group calls, though there is a workaround.
Home Theater

What’s new on Amazon Prime Video (March 2019)

Amazon Prime Video adds new titles each month that are available for free to all Prime members. Check out our list to find all the content hitting Amazon Prime Video in February and March, from new original series to classic films.
Gaming

Did Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown fall victim to the Madden Curse?

Join us as we take a tour through the long-running history of the Madden Curse -- and Tom Brady's recent accolades. We all know John Madden is a longtime NFL talent, but is he also an agent of dark forces?
Smart Home

After camera hacks, Nest locks customers out until they change their password

Nest is locking people out of their accounts if it believes there may have been a breach. Users will have to set up a new, secure password before they are able to regain access to their account.
Cars

Nissan is using old Leaf batteries to power and connect off-the-grid campers

Nissan has teamed up with trailer manufacturer Opus to design a mobile, weatherproof power pack built with battery cells sourced from the first-generation Leaf. Called Roam, the pack stores enough electricity to power a camper for up to a…
Cars

Alfa Romeo’s latest Ferrari-powered F1 race car is ready to hit the track

Alfa Romeo is doubling down on Formula One racing after a decades-long hiatus. Now essentially a support team for Ferrari, its 2019 driver lineup includes a former world champion and a potential future star.
Cars

Researchers teach self-driving cars to predict pedestrians’ next moves

University of Michigan researchers are developing a system that teaches self-driving cars to predict pedestrian movement. Humans don't always act in their own best self-interest, so autonomous cars will need to practice protective driving.
Cars

Subaru’s latest VIZIV concept car is pumped full of adrenaline

The Subaru VIZIV Adrenaline is the seventh member of the Japanese automaker's family of VIZIV concept cars. It debuts at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, but for now, all we're getting is a shadowy teaser image.
Cars

Audi is advancing the tech that teaches cars to talk to traffic lights

Audi is teaching its cars the language of traffic lights. The company developed technology that tells motorists what speed they should drive at in order to catch as many green lights as possible.
Cars

Waymo rules and Apple trails in California self-driving car benchmarks

California's DMV releases annual reports of self-driving car disengagements on public roads. In the most recent reports. Waymo had the best performance, GM Cruise came in second, and Apple's self-driving program was in last place.
Cars

Watch a modified Audi e-tron electric SUV drive straight up a ski slope

A modified Audi e-tron climbed up an 85-percent gradient on an Austrian ski slope in a tribute to a classic Audi commercial. The vehicle used for the stunt sported an extra electric motor and spiked tires.
Cars

Mamma mia! Alfa Romeo will unveil a new model at the Geneva Auto Show

Alfa Romeo told Digital Trends it will unveil a new model at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. It stopped short of revealing what it has in store, but rumors claim it will be a crossover positioned below the Stelvio.
Cars

Citroën says you could drive its tiny Ami One electric car without a license

Citroën's Ami One concept car is an electric vehicle that's as cute as it is compact. The miniature motor only has a top speed of 28 mph, so the French automaker imagines it as a shareable runaround for short drives.
Cars

Arizona city slammed with $10M lawsuit over fatal Uber autonomous car accident

The family of Elaine Herzberg, the woman struck and killed by one of Uber's self-driving prototypes, has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city of Tempe, Arizona. They claim Herzberg jaywalked because she was confused by a brick…