2013_Toyota_Vios_review_ 089

Toyota Australia is attempting to locate a number of Toyota vehicles that may be fitted with counterfeit airbag parts, items the company says pose a deadly risk in the event of a crash. This was revealed in a confidential dealer bulletin issued by the company, which News Corp Australia managed to get its hands on.

The bulletin states that the automaker has identified two suppliers selling counterfeit Toyota spiral cables that are sold and marketed as original replacement parts in bogus Toyota Genuine packaging. The report by NCA states that these fake cables are being sold by unscrupulous importers to independent repairers and possibly Toyota dealers, who are likely to be unaware that the parts are fakes.

The spiral cables are a core component of the airbag connector assembly, and is replaced along with an airbag if the latter is deployed. The report adds that the company has no idea just how many of these fake items have made their way on to cars in Australia.

While cars that have never had their airbags deploy are unaffected, vehicles that have been repaired, especially outside Toyota’s dealer repair network, may be equipped with the counterfeits. The situation serves as a reminder to owners that where there is a case of airbag deployment, the vehicle should always be sent back to an OEM body and paint facility.

airbag spiral cable

The automaker said it had “serious concerns about the safety of these parts” following internal testing in Japan, which revealed that there were four ways they could fail to deploy an airbag in a crash. The bulletin added there is may be a high likelihood of insufficient conductivity to support airbag deployment electrical current and as such, pose a significant risk of airbag non deployment in an accident.

The counterfeit parts reportedly do not feature gold-plated connectors. The crimping of the cable is also not strong enough, and the part does not use copper wire like the genuine one. Elsewhere, the plastic locking tabs are also said to be poorly formed or misaligned.

The issue is in locating these renegade parts, or knowing where to look for them in the first place. A Toyota dealer said that the problem was there was no way of knowing how many of these fake parts were circulating out there, but “suspect there are thousands, because they are quite a commonly used part.”

The bulletin has advised all Toyota dealers in the country to check the airbag connector when vehicles come in for routine servicing to ensure it the part is not counterfeit. Looks messy, and this one sounds like it could run for a long while.