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CARFAX implements free airbag checks for vehicle owners

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Oct. 17, 2012—Following the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) recent consumer alert regarding counterfeit airbags in vehicles, CARFAX said all airbag safety systems in used vehicles should be inspected by a qualified mechanic, body shop or airbag specialist to ensure proper performance.

In response, CARFAX developed a free online service that allows consumers to check for prior vehicle airbag deployment that has been reported to the organization. The service can be found at carfax.com/airbag.

"[The NHTSA’s] announcement underscores the importance of checking the history of used cars," said Larry Gamache, communications director at CARFAX. "Airbags are one of most crucial parts of a car's safety system. The lives of consumers everywhere are at risk because of scams like fake airbags. CARFAX reports can include information on reported airbag deployment and other details about prior damage that help used car buyers and sellers avoid this potentially fatal fraud."

The Association of Global Automakers release_notesd a statement last week urging consumers to make sure that only original equipment replacement airbags are used when having a vehicle repaired after a collision.

"Counterfeit replacement airbags are a serious safety problem," said Mike Stanton, president and CEO of Global Automakers.

The NHTSA has placed information on its website, safercar.gov, to help consumers discover whether their vehicles are at risk. Consumers who have had their airbag replaced in the last three years by someone other than an authorized dealer, or do not know their vehicles' history, are encouraged to contact the NHTSA.

"We want to make sure vehicles on the road are as safe as possible," Stanton said. "That is why we are fully cooperating with NHTSA to help get this message out. While NHTSA thinks this is limited to a small number of vehicles, it is important that consumers verify that their vehicles have original equipment replacement airbags."

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