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Caviat emptor when it comes to airbags on used cars

If you are in the market for a used car, chances are you are aware of the term “caviat emptor,” better known as “buyer beware.” Like the caricatures of sleazy used car salesmen portray, there may be issues with the car you are about to purchase that are not ascertainable by the naked eye.

You have probably heard about special tools that can rollback odometers (even electronic ones) to mask the vehicle’s true mileage. You have also probably heard about faulty titles to conceal that the car has been in an accident and really has salvage title designation. There is yet another potential issue that used car buyers should be aware of. 

The problem of faulty and counterfeit airbags continues to plague consumers. This is a dangerous issue that could lead to serious injuries and even death. Counterfeit airbags have the potential of not deploying when they are supposed to.

With that said, used car buyers should be especially careful when inspecting a vehicle to make sure that the airbags have not been tampered with. A good rule of thumb is to inspect the stitching on the portion of the steering wheel, or the dashboard, that houses the airbag. Essentially, if the stitching is crumpled or inconsistent, there is a chance that the airbag has been tampered with.

Also, consumers should be certain that their warranty covers the all the parts of the car that are said to be in working condition. This should include the engine and electrical parts as well as the airbags. The warranty could make the dealer liable in the event it does not function properly.

Source: azcentral.com “Does your car have a fake airbag,” Stacia Naquin, April 12, 2014

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