Car experts warn drivers about recycled airbags

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - According to Carfax, as many as 750,000 airbags are replaced every year after an accident.

Christopher Basso with Carfax said it’s not uncommon to find recycled airbags used to replace deployed ones, but said this could be dangerous.  

“It really underscores the importance of finding out if original manufacture equipment airbags were used or if they took a recycled airbag that may be on the recall list and could put your life in danger,” Basso said.

Basso said while recycled airbags may be less expensive, recalled airbags could potentially slip through the cracks and possibly be placed into repaired or used cars.

“Recycled airbags being used on the recall list could affect anybody anywhere and really underscores the importance of knowing if your car was in a crash when the airbag was deployed and needed to be replaced and what was needed to replace it,” he said.

It’s an issue Jeff Newberry, with Jay Wolfe Body & Service, said consumers need to keep a close eye on.

“We absolutely will not use recycled airbags,” Newberry said. “When you talk about recycled airbags or aftermarket parts for the passenger restraint systems, they're just bad news all together. You probably want to go back to the manufacture's parts, the manufacturer's guidelines and a list of items that need to be replaced whenever you have deployment.”

Newberry said depending on where and how many airbags deploy, they can cost between $2,000 and $4,000.

Here are three steps for consumers buying a used car:

  1. Take the vehicle out on a thorough test drive.
  2. Get a history report on the vehicle.
  3. Have a mechanic inspect it.

Basso said there is a way to see if your vehicle’s airbags ever needed replacing. You can check for free here.

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