The number listed for sale online has more than doubled in just a year, says Carsite.co.uk – and the downturn in the economy is to blame.
The firm’s research found more than 7,000 second-hand airbags were listed on eBay in July, more than double the 3,000 listings 12 months ago.
Carsite.co.uk’s John Guess said: ‘Not all used airbags will be defective – some will work in the event of a collision, but it’s a total game of chance.
‘However, even if the airbag is properly functioning, someone who is unqualified might not fit it correctly or even hurt themselves in the process.’
Carsite believes that the reason for this increase is due to the economic downturn, tempting unwary customers away from expensive, manufacturer approved new airbags to potentially dangerous second-hand equivalents.
By far the most popular make of second-hand airbags to appear on eBay was that of Vauxhall, accounting for around 10 per cent of listings. A further 50 per cent of listings comprised of used-airbags from Ford, Volkswagen, BMW and Renault.
RAC inspector Ron Waldock said: ‘Replacing an SRS unit isn’t a case of removing the old one and screwing another in place.
‘On many models crash sensors will need to be tested and replaced or reset; the SRS computer and firing mechanisms must all be checked, alongside other recommended procedures. It’s a complex process requiring time and experience.’
The Department of Transport advises against the installation of used airbags, despite there being no laws against to either enforce this, or limit the sale, handling and maintenance of such airbags.
By James Batchelor