What To Do With Deployed Airbags

A Motorist With Deployed Airbags

What to do with deployed airbags

When states first enacted mandatory car seats and seat belts, it was an adjustment for most of us. And once we got past the frustration of being told what to do, again, we come to understand it was for our safety. And so, this safety concern continues with manufacturers required to install air bags and car owners are required to keep them.

How do I get rid of air bags?

The air bag installed on the steering wheel is a part of the steering wheel assembly. Typically, the airbag is attached to a fuse that will need to be disconnected before removing the air bag in a safe manner. For most cars, it can be done within an hour if you have the right tools. 

The air bag removal process can vary with each make, model, and year of a car. The basics, once you have disconnected the battery and the fuse, is to turn the steering wheel to the left for 180 degrees. This should put the other side of the steering wheel on top. Next, position a flathead screwdriver on the right into the hole. This should pop the air bag out where you can grab and pull it out. 

What happens if you remove an airbag?

The first thing you’ll notice when you disconnect or remove an air bag, the dashboard air bag light will illuminate. Next, you should know that any vehicle that falls within the State of Illinois safety inspection process will fail the inspection. 

It is a federal law that car manufacturers must install air bags in any vehicle made after 1999. Whether your car will pass the state’s inspection will be determined if the inspector checks that the air bag is in place and in working order. 

At what speed of impact do airbags deploy?

According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), you will need to reach speeds between eight and fourteen miles per hour before your air bags will deploy upon impact. 

However, the car you’re in doesn’t have to be moving for air bags to deploy. If you’re sitting still in a running car and you’re hit by another vehicle traveling between sixteen and twenty-eight miles per hour, the air bags will deploy. If your car engine isn’t on and you’re hit by another vehicle, the air bags won’t deploy. 

How do I start my car after airbags deploy?

Every car manufacturer has implemented different methods to prevent a car from starting once it has been involved in an accident that caused the air bags to deploy. This is done by programming certain systems automatically disconnects, like the battery, fuel pump, or starter, and sometimes the fuses blow. 

The things that you may notice after an impact that caused the air bags to deploy include: 

  • The engine won’t start
  • Ignition turns but there is no power to anything
  • Ignition doesn’t turn on.
  • Warning lights on the instrument cluster illuminate
  • The SRS malfunction light on
  • The EBS malfunction warning on
  • Fault code for the Engine Control Module engages

Things that you may be able to bypass to get your car started again: 

  • Check the fuse block and replace any blown fuses
  • Check the battery
  • Disconnect the antitheft system

Can you fix airbags once deployed, or is a car totaled if airbags deploy?

No, deployed air bags does not mean your vehicle has to be totaled. But the air bags cannot be repaired, they will need to be replaced. If the cost of replacing the air bags is more than the value of the car, it is up to your insurance company to declare the car a total loss. 

Can I cut off deployed airbags?

If the air bags have been deployed, they cannot be reused, so removing them is the only option. It is best to have an authorized repair facility do the removal, but if you’re needing to drive the car, you can cut them out using a knife or scissors. Be prepared to clean up the power that comes out of the deployed air bags. 

Is a car worth fixing if the airbags deploy?

It depends on the value of your car.  Replacing air bags is expensive, but your car may have a high value. For example, a 2022 Mercedes Benz would be well worth paying to have repaired and the air bags replaced. However, a 1999 Chevy may not be worth as much as it cost to replace the air bags. 

A Driver With a Deployed Airbag

Ending With a Frequently Asked Question

Are airbags covered under insurance? If the accident isn’t your fault and the insurance company doesn’t total your car, your policy (or the at-fault driver) insurance will pay for the air bag to be replaced, if you have collision coverage in your policy covering the car. If the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, it will be up to your insurance company how to pursue the matter, like suing the other driver.

Are you looking to replace deployed airbags in Schaumburg, IL? Schedule an appointment with Express Auto Repair & Emissions by calling 847-895-9131.