Are You At Risk of Airbag Fraud?

How Airbag Fraud Claims Innocent Lives

You buy a used car and assume the dealership is honest (or as honest as dealerships get, anyway). The car looks excellent and drives great. You'd never expect that it had been in a wreck or that, even worse, that what's hiding in the airbag compartment could kill you. Welcome to the world of airbag fraud.

What's In (Or Not In) Your Airbag Compartment Could Kill You

Let's say you're in a head-on collision and you're counting on your airbag to save your life. The problem is, there's no airbag to deploy. The airbag compartment has been stuffed with paper or other trash. How's it supposed to protect you? It won't.

How It Happens

When you buy a used car, there's really no way of knowing for sure if the airbag has ever been deployed. Sure you can check services like CarFax, but even those aren't a sure thing.

If the airbag has deployed, you don't know for sure it was properly repaired. It seems there are an increasing number of fly-by-night repair shops committing airbag fraud. A real airbag replacement can cost $1,000. If the crook throws something else in the compartment, he can pocket that cash for himself and you're stuck with an unsafe car.

What To Do

If you buy a used car, take it to your dealership and ask them to check out the airbag. Hopefully, everything will check out.

If you get into an accident and your airbag deploys, make sure you stay on top of its replacement when the shop is working on it. Make sure the mechanics are ASE certified and ask to see the packaging of the airbag that they are installing.

It's important to be sure the shop is installing the manufacturer's parts and not second-rate garbage. Also check the repair shop's invoice to make sure the invoice matches up with the package you're inspecting.

It may seem harsh (and you may get a few odd stares) but it's worth it if it can keep you and your passengers safe. Airbag fraud can cost you your life. It's up to you to prevent that from happening.

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