Many used car buyers are completely unaware that their airbags might not deploy in the event of an accident. There are a few reasons for this, but the most prevalent is a scam in which a car that's experienced a previous collision has had its deployed airbag improperly replaced, sometimes with stolen airbag units from other cars and sometimes with nothing more than stuff like packing peanuts or whatever else was lying around the shop.

Being that Carfax offers a service attempting to expose every little detail about a car's history that's available, the company has decided to release information about a car's airbag deployment history for free. The new service doesn't appear to be available from the home page by entering a candidate car's VIN number, but rather from this separate page. We tested it out with a few VINs culled from Autotrader and have yet to find one with an active deployment history. On the other hand, Carfax admits it doesn't have complete records for every airbag deployment that's ever happened. Nevertheless, the database, while perhaps incomplete, contains useful info for those considering the purchase of a used car that's seen some crunch time.

[Source: Carfax]


PRESS RELEASE:

Carfax Opens Database of Air Bag Deployments Free to Public; Faulty Air Bag Replacements Put Consumer Lives At Risk

CENTREVILLE, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Industry experts estimate that as many as one out of 25 previously damaged vehicles may have non-functional air bags. Con men purposely replace deployed air bags with anything from packing peanuts to stolen units. This growing scam is threatening the lives of used car buyers everywhere. To help consumers protect themselves, Carfax now makes the air bag deployment information in its database available for free.

"No question, air bags are a lifesaver," said Larry Gamache, communications director at Carfax. "To best protect yourself, follow these two important steps: Use the free Carfax air bag check and always have your mechanic test the air bag system to ensure it's functioning properly before you buy. Do not assume your car's air bags will deploy when you need them, because most victims of this scam may never know until it's too late."

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, nearly 20,000 lives have been saved by air bags deploying in an accident. As the height of used car buying season quickly approaches, consumers need to be on the lookout for scams like air bag fraud that can threaten their safety.

"While we don't know about every air bag deployment, we want consumers to have access to what we do know," added Gamache. "We also encourage all of our customers who have information about a previous air bag deployment not currently in our database to tell us so we can further help consumers steer clear of this scam."

Consumers can log on to www.carfax.com/airbag to access the free Carfax air bag check and can report air bag deployment information using the "Tell Us What You Know" link on all consumer-purchased Carfax Vehicle History Reports.