According to Carfax, a service providing history on used vehicles that are being sold, as many as 750,000 airbags are replaced every year after an accident. Christopher Basso, a representative for Carfax said it is not uncommon to find recycled airbags used to replace deployed ones, but this could be dangerous, he said in an interview with Kansas City News Station KSHB.
Potential Dangers of Recycled Airbags
“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 added that although 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,” Basso said.
Jeff Newberry, with Jay Wolfe Body &Service said it’s an issue that consumers need to keep a close eye on. “We absolutely will not use recycled airbags,” Newberry said. “When you talk about recycled airbags of aftermarket parts for the passenger restraint systems, they’re just bad news all together. You probably want to go back to the manufacturer’s parts, the manufacturer’s guidelines and a list of items that need to be replaced whenever you have deployment.”
Newberry added, depending on where and how many airbags deploy, they can cost between $2,000 and $4,000. There are three steps for consumers buying a used car: first, take the vehicle out on a thorough test drive; second, get a history report on the vehicle; third, have a mechanic inspect it.
National law firm Parker Waichman LLP has years of experience and success representing clients in personal injury litigation. Attorneys at the firm are available to answer questions for any individuals seeking legal information for potential lawsuits.
Past Recalls for Faulty Airbags
Seven major automotive manufacturers in the United States, issued recalls for faulty airbags in 2014. At that time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, and Toyota would recall cars sold in locations where hot, humid weather may potentially affect the airbags. The car manufacturers all have airbag systems made by Takata Corporation, a Tokyo-based supplier of airbags, seat belts, steering wheels, as well as other auto parts.
Engineers at Takata initially noticed problems with the chemical mix used in its airbags over ten years ago, according to a report by CNN. The defect concerns aspirin-sized ammonium nitrate tablets, that are placed in a metal canister inside the airbag. The nitrate tablets are made to produce a gas that inflates the bag. But, extreme temperatures can destabilize the ammonium nitrate, which causes the metal canister to explode, according to patent application documents Takata filed.
Older-model cars have airbag inflators that may rupture which could cause the airbags to potentially not work properly in a crash. Shards from the broken airbag system could fly out and cause serious injury, reports the Associated Press.
Defective Airbag Lawsuits
In February 2017, Takata Corp. agreed to pay $1 billion to settle multidistrict (MDL) litigation alleging the airbag manufacturer was aware of the fatal defect with its airbags but sold them in spite of having that information. A minimum of 11 deaths have been linked to the faulty airbags, which can explode due to a design defect.
An MDL is frequently created to consolidate similar complaints into a trial in one court before one judge to streamline the process and make it more efficient.
In 2008, Honda issued a recall when its airbags opened with force that was so excessive that metal parts of the airbag assembly could blast through the airbag, injuring a passenger in contact with the device. In May 2011, the Honda airbag recall expanded to 833,000 vehicles that may have been equipped with a defective airbag.
In addition, Hyundai issued a recall for Elantra 2007-2009 sedans for an airbag system sensor that could cause the airbags to open incorrectly. The problem is an increased risk of injury to smaller passengers such as women, children, and the elderly, in the event of an accident.
Legal Information and Advice Concerning Defective Airbags
If you or someone you know has been injured by a defective airbag, you may have valuable legal rights. Parker Waichman LLP offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. We urge you to contact the personal injury lawyers at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).