One of the largest, most expensive auto parts recalls in recent memory has taken on a new twist. Airbags made by the Takata corporation were installed in a variety of U.S. automobiles including those sold by Honda. These Takata airbags have been proven to explode and throw life threatening shrapnel towards drivers and passengers. Auto manufacturers have been in recall mode for multiple years now, trying to replace the faulty airbags in all of their vehicles. Unfortunately, those extensive efforts have so far not been enough. This is especially true when taken alongside a new story reported by the LA Times.

We are now seeing a new, worrying trend with these defective Takata airbags and other replacement parts: They are being inadvertently salvaged from the vehicles they originally shipped in and are being used as replacement parts in newer cars. Worse, there are no regulations or laws that prevent this from happening. That is, it is completely legal for a junkyard or repair shop to reuse recalled parts, like these dangerous Takata airbag systems, in newer vehicles.

What this means is that the parts being used to fix your car after an accident could be on lists that both the automaker and government knows are dangerous or even deadly, but there is nothing to stop it from happening. In many cases, your local repair shop may not even know to check to make sure the replacement parts they are using weren’t taken from vehicles on a recall list. Even checking government recall websites won’t be helpful in most cases, because while your car might not be on a recall list, a replacement part from a different car might have been, and that’s just as dangerous.
How does one stay safe if replacement parts can come from anywhere? The best way, currently, is to check to see if your used car has previously been in a crash and have your local auto shop check to make sure the replacement parts that were likely used were not subject to any recalls.