A CAR insurer has issued a warning to motorists after car airbags were stolen across the UK.
Thieves are targeting the steering wheel to remove the airbags, which are then sold to dogged garages for a cheaper deal while charging the customer’s market price.
The number of stolen steering wheel complaints has increased in recent years, with the biggest increase coming last year, up 68% from 2020.
Over the past four years, Admiral Insurance has received more than 500 requests for steering wheel theft.
According to insurance company data, BMW is the most targeted car model, but Mercedes, Fords and Land Rovers are also affected.
Lorna Connelly, Head of Claims at Admiral, said airbag theft is a “relatively new phenomenon” fueled by criminals taking advantage of supply chain problems caused by Covid.
She said: “The increase in theft has been higher during the pandemic as airbag factories have been impacted by Covid, closed permanently or struggled to meet demand once they became available. reopen.
“Once the steering wheel has been stolen, the airbags are removed and sold to unscrupulous garages, who install them in cars for less than the dealers will charge.
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“Garages can buy stolen airbags for between £200 and £500 before charging customers a few hundred extra pounds.
“This will still be cheaper than having the driver go to an authorized dealer, which has to pay up to £1,000 to replace an activated or faulty airbag.”
She encourages drivers undergoing repairs to use authorized, reputable repairmen who only use approved parts sourced from professional suppliers.
The warning comes as drivers have been warned to be careful after a fake number plate mysteriously appeared on a vehicle. women’s car on a suburban street.
Charlotte Grundy was picking up sunglasses from her car parked outside her home in Hale, Greater Manchester, on Saturday when she realized the number plate was incorrect.
She discovered a sheet of film had been pasted on her number plate with a completely new set of characters and numbers.
How to protect your car from airbag thieves:
- Use your garage if you have your own, keep out of sight
- Invest in an approved Secured Sale or Guaranteed Design (SBD) steering wheel lock. The steering lock works well as a visual deterrent and some have been added to the warning
- Park your car in a well-lit area when you can to reduce the risk of being targeted by thieves
- Make sure you’re locking your car every time you leave your car
- Place the CCTV in a place that covers your vehicle
- Call the police if you spot anyone acting suspiciously near your car
https://www.thesun.ie/motors/8476348/insurers-warning-spike-car-airbag-thefts/ Insurance company warning after AIRBAG car theft spikes across UK