Imagine buying a newer used car for a family member, checking that it has all of the latest safety features, and when it really counts finding out that someone had fake airbags put in the car after an accident.

Yes, another thing to check for when buying a used car. And another reason to only buy from reputable dealers. Hard to believe, but at this point it seems it is actually legal to manufacture fake covers to put when the air bag should be. Although Connecticut’s Attorney General has proposed legislation for the state to outlaw the sale and installation of replacement covers without bags and some other state already have this in place, this is still a risk.

One manufacturer of these air bag covers admits selling more 4,600 of the counterfeits in 1999 and 2000.

How do you know if the car you are looking at has a fake air bag? First, if you are at a reputable used car dealer, ask the dealer if the vehicle has been in an accident. Quality dealers know the tell tale signs of a vehicle that has been in an accident and repaired. Often they can point out things you would never have thought of.

Next watch the airbag light on the dash. If the airbag is there, the light should go on for a few seconds every time you turn your key and then fade out

According to The manufacturer logo is often missing from these fake air bag covers.

Last, if still in doubt, take the car to a mechanic before buying it.