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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Generic replacement car seat covers can be dangerous

Replacement car seat covers that aren’t compatible with the specific vehicle could be dangerous, especially if the covers block the opening for the side air bags.
“It literally could break your back,” explained Marv Schulz in a recent call to me. “I don’t want to see anybody get hurt.”
Schulz is owner of Pit Road Racing Collectibles on Geyser Road. It’s also a Budget truck rental business. In addition, Schulz is a licensed inspector of vehicles for insurance companies; state law requires a visual inspection when owners are switching carriers.
As part of that inspection, the insurance companies want to know if there are air bags; they aren’t concerned about seat covers. But Schulz is.
“A lot of people don’t even realize there is a side bag,” he said. That includes countless people who aren’t switching insurance carriers but are just buying replacement seat covers.
Schulz estimates that he performs the insurance inspection on more than 200 vehicles a month and that about 10 percent come in with covers that were not meant for the car.
“It’s a very dangerous situation,” he said.
It’s been bothering him for a while, and he finally asked me to help spread the word. So here we are. There’s no law governing replacement seat covers, and maybe we don’t need yet another law. But that places the burden on the vehicle owner to make the safe choice when buying replacement seat covers.
Thanks, Mr. Schulz.


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