Published: Oct 10, 2012 4:54 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 10, 2012 5:04 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Thousands of drivers may be putting themselves at risk with counterfeit airbags.

Government tests found these airbags did not inflate properly or failed to inflate at all. In one test, a counterfeit bag shot flames and shards of metal at a crash dummy.

"These seemingly genuine airbags are in fact, shoddy fakes that pose a significant safety danger when installed," said John Morton, Director of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

"These airbags don't work, they aren't gonna save you in an accident, they are a fraud and danger from start to finish, and you don't want them in your car period."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says drivers who had their airbags replaced in the last three months could be at risk. Only if they had the work done at somewhere other than a new car dealership.

The good news is there have been no deaths reported. Also, very few cars have been impacted, counterfeit airbags are only available on less than one-tenth of a percent of vehicles on the road.

NHTSA is asking car owners to check a government website,, for information on how to contact auto manufacturer call centers to learn if their vehicle model is among those for which counterfeit airbags are known to have been made.