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A Comprehensive Airbag Deployment Repair Guide

A Comprehensive Airbag Deployment Repair Guide

Airbag deployment repair is a must after being involved in a car accident and the airbag sensors have been triggered and/or the airbags have been deflated. And you'll need that airbag repairs done before hitting the road again. You might be tempted to just get your car back on the road and ignore the fact that your airbags have deployed. 

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


While this is a viable option, you should be aware that the airbags will not inflate as they should if the sensors fail, putting you and your passengers at risk. In the event of a collision in which the airbag system fails, the chances of injury or death increase by 30%. The fatality rate is 52 percent higher if you don't wear a seatbelt.


Unless you have airbag deployment repair done and the airbag system is fully repaired, your instrument cluster will also have the airbag light stay illuminated. And with that you will not pass safety inspections in some states. Not passing the safety inspection also means not being able to register your car for use. 


Even if you decide to sell your car, that same problem will only be passed to the buyer, who also won’t be able to register the car unless the airbag system is fully repaired. So airbag deployment will always be required. Now, you might be curious about how airbag deployment repair is made following an accident. We are going to talk about it in detail in this article.


Airbag Deployment Repair Steps

  • Airbag Light is Reset


The airbag sensors must be reset if the airbag sensors were triggered even though the airbags were not deployed. Most cars include a warning light, similar to an engine maintenance light, that signals that the airbags are malfunctioning. If the airbag light on your car is on, the airbag light must be reset, or the airbags will not fill as they should in the event of an accident.


You can reset the airbag light on your car from the comfort of your own garage, avoiding a trip to the dealer or mechanic. The airbag light, also called the SRS light (supplemental restraint system), illuminates on the car's instrument panel after airbag deployment and the vehicle has been in an accident.


However, there are other scenarios that can cause the SRS light to illuminate, such as when a new radio is installed or when the airbag system malfunctions. Other reasons aside from these causes the dashboard airbag light to stay illuminated. So aside from replacing the airbag and accompanying sensors you may look into issues with seat belts in the front or back, as well as headrests and door-mounted airbags.


You can use a handheld computerized gadget obtained from an auto parts supplier to reset the airbag light after all repairs have been completed.


  1. Place the key in the ignition and turn the ignition switch to “on.”


  1. Keep an eye out for the airbag light to come on. It will remain lit for seven seconds before turning off. Turn off the switch as soon as it shuts down and wait three seconds.


  1. Repeat both steps twice.


  1. Turn on the engine. The SRS light should illuminate for seven seconds before turning off and remaining off. By this time the airbag light has been reset.

  • Airbags Resetting


If the airbags have deployed in some makes and models of cars, they may be able to be reset if they are not damaged. Resetting the airbag light and re-inserting the airbag into the airbag module are both required. Airbags in newer cars, on the other hand, are rarely resettable. Always check with a mechanic to determine if yours can be reset or not.

  • Airbags must be replaced.


Following an accident, if an airbag overinflated and popped, or if you have a vehicle with no way to reset the airbags, the airbags will need to be replaced. This entails removing the old airbag module and replacing it with a new one.


If the airbag was installed in your steering wheel, the entire wheel and column may need to be replaced. The airbag sensor is reset when the new airbags are placed, guaranteeing that your airbags are completely functional once again. 


You must have the airbags repaired before you can drive the vehicle again if you were involved in an accident in which the airbags deployed. Fortunately, this is something that will be covered by insurance. 

  • Take your car for a road test.

Take the vehicle for a road test after the repair is complete to confirm that all equipment are working properly and that no malfunction indicators illuminate when the vehicle is driven.

What needs to be replaced after airbag deployment?


When it comes to vehicle airbags, there's a widespread misconception that if they don't deploy, they'll never need to be replaced. However, this isn't always the case. It's also false that an airbag must be replaced automatically after an accident. Having the sensors reset and recalibrated is frequently sufficient. When an airbag does deploy, however, there is more to do than simply replace the airbag.


Before starting any portion of the airbag repair procedure, the technician should do a full diagnostic pre-scan to see what Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC) have been triggered in any area of the airbag system, including the crash sensors and airbag module.


Because crash sensors are sealed equipment, it's impossible to tell how they're doing merely by looking at them. Any crash sensor that has been damaged in any way as a result of an accident needs to be replaced.


When airbags are deployed during an accident, the airbags must definitely be replaced. This will also require the replacement and/or reprogramming of the airbag control module. If any of the impact sensors were damaged in the accident, they will almost certainly need to be replaced as well in order for the airbag module to reset and function properly after repairs. Never take the chance of the sensor working again. Simply replace it.


The vehicle's computer system will detect that the airbag module has been repaired or replaced and reinstalled in the vehicle, and the warning signal will turn off. Replacement of damaged or deployed airbags, airbag sensors, and modules by a specialist guarantees that the vehicle is fixed properly and safely.


The technician will need to recalibrate after all of the airbag systems have been replaced and all damaged parts on the vehicle have been found and replaced or fixed. Before a recalibration can be performed, all DTCs and defects must be cleared, and the system must be validated to be repaired. After the airbag system has been recalibrated, the technician should perform a completion or post-scan to ensure that all repairs have been completed satisfactorily.

Airbag Deployment Repair: How much does it cost to fix a deployed airbag?


Airbag deployment repair on average maybe around $1,000 to $1,500 per airbag that will have to be replaced. This does not include any other parts that need to be replaced. That amount is only for the airbags themselves. So, if your driver's and passenger's front airbags have deployed in a front collision, you can expect your airbag system to cost roughly $3,000 to fix.


Replacement of the airbag module will set you back another $600 or more. Add to that the amount to pay for bodywork required to make your car roadworthy. The replacement of the driver's steering wheel with a deployed airbag is very straightforward, but the majority of the others need a significant amount of effort and parts.


Many of the car's airbags may need to be replaced as part of the airbag replacement service. When an airbag deploys on the passenger side, it rips the dashboard apart. In the event of a side impact, an airbag may rip the seat cover as it exits. The headliner is also destroyed by side curtain airbags. As a result, the cost of collision repair skyrockets.


At this you might ask, is it worth doing the airbag deployment repair or is it preferable to sell your car with these costs in mind? You will have to weigh. The cost will not only depend on the extent of the damage but it also may depend on the year, make, and model of your vehicle. 


Because there are so many parts that need to be fixed or replaced, airbag replacement from a professional can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. Labor costs make up almost a third of the total.


Fortunately, airbag replacement is covered by motor insurance. In some cases, your auto insurance carrier may even give you a courtesy car. Call your insurer immediately away if you want to discover what your auto insurance covers. This is also true when the side curtain airbags are activated.


Is a car drivable after airbags deploy?


When the airbags are deployed in most modern cars, the engine immediately shuts off. This is to give the driver and passengers even more protection in the event of an accident. If you have an older vehicle, the engine may not cut off after the airbags have been deployed, allowing you to continue driving.


Airbag Deployment Repair: Other Related Questions


At what speed do airbags deploy?


When a crash is the equivalent of a 10-12 mph impact against a rigid wall, a front airbag will often deploy for unbelted occupants. Because the belts alone are anticipated to provide adequate protection up to these low speeds, most airbags will deploy at a higher threshold — around 16 mph — for strapped occupants.


Can I replace my airbag myself?


If you're considering doing your own airbag repair or replacement, there are a few things you should think about and consider. Auto repairs can be costly, and depending on the make and model of your vehicle, sticker shock may prompt you to do it yourself to save money.


Repairing or replacing an airbag is possible, but it depends on your degree of technical expertise, your confidence in your ability to complete the repairs accurately and safely, and whether your efforts exceed the price of hiring a professional.


It's critical to see the help of a professional technician to install the replacement airbags rather than attempting to do it yourself for safety reasons.  While airbag deployment repair can be a project for DIY enthusiasts with a few complex repairs under their belts and perhaps some peers to seek help from, airbags are finicky and can malfunction—in a scenario that replicates an accident, the airbag may deploy unexpectedly at low or no speeds.


If you perform the repair wrong, the airbag may not deploy properly, if at all, defeating the purpose of the airbag and wasting your time and effort. Unless you are a certified auto technician/mechanic, the best course of action is to take your vehicle to a reputable shop and have the job done by a professional.


Airbags that have been deployed cannot be used again. It may be legal to use an airbag that hasn't been deployed in another vehicle of the same type, but this should only be done in an emergency. There are no restrictions on airbags needing to be replaced by dealerships or certified mechanics, with the exception of your vehicle warranty, in which case airbag replacement is likely covered. 


How long does it take a mechanic to replace an airbag?


Airbag deployment repair, specifically airbag replacement can be expected to take about 2 hours to finish, but that depends on dealer schedules. You will also have to take into consideration the wait time for you to be accommodated by the airbag service professional.


If your vehicle is involved in a serious collision that involves airbag deployment, or if you buy a car that has had its airbags deployed, airbag replacement will be required, and it will be costly. But bear in mind that an airbag maintenance check does not imply that the airbags should be replaced. Hope this article helped for extra information, but it would still be best if you ask  your local auto dealership for professional help.