The average cost for the airbag occupant sensor replacement cost is typically between $485 and $513 for most makes, models, and years of cars. The labor prices are estimated between $107 and $134, with the total time of the procedure taking 90 minutes or less. In addition, the price of the parts is priced at around $379 for the airbag occupant sensor.
What are airbags?
Vehicle airbags in a car are extremely important for driver and occupant safety. This form of safety restraint is used in tandem with seat belts to protect the passengers and drivers from catapulting forward and potentially injuring their head on the front window.
Airbags are typically known as the Supplemental Restraint System, or the SRS for short. Cars have been using the SRS system since the late 1990s, with some vehicles still using side airbags for extra crash protection. If you find your SRS system is not detecting a crash and alerting the safety system to potential issues, this could lead to an expensive airbag occupant sensor replacement cost.
Airbag Replacement Cost
If you notice signs of a malfunctioning airbag, this could lead to an airbag replacement and a higher airbag occupant sensor replacement cost. Since there are so many components and internal parts that need to be replaced, the total cost for airbag replacement ranges from $1,000 to $5,000.
Within this price range, the total cost of the labor accounts for about ⅓ of the total. You can expect the labor price to range between $350 and $1,500 on average for the airbag replacement cost.
The actual amount of the airbag replacement cost depends on the make, model, and year of the car. In addition, the locations, number of airbags, and the number of other parts that need to be replaced can drastically affect the airbag cost and airbag occupant sensor replacement cost.
- The airbag itself on the driver’s side typically costs between $150 and $600 per bag, with the passenger airbag being more expensive between $300 and $800.
- After the airbags are deployed, vehicles that have pretensioners will also need to be replaced for between $80 and $120 to repair this part.
- Furthermore, the ECU or airbag module will need to be reset after the airbags are deployed, costing the owner between $50 and $150.
- If the airbag control module needs to be replaced due to damage or extensive use, you can expect to pay between $400 and $1,200 for a new one.
Components of Airbag Replacement:
- Driver and passenger airbags – This safety feature is the second line of protection during a collision.
- Airbag occupant sensors – This sensor alerts the SRS of an impact to protect the occupants and set off the airbag.
- Clockspring – This coil retracts and expands inside the housing while you turn the steering wheel to control the car.
- Igniter – The igniter and the propellant sets off a chemical reaction to operate the inflation system.
- SRS warning light – This light shows a malfunction within the airbag system to alert the driver of a safety issue. If the SRS warning light does not alert the driver to an issue, it can lead to a higher airbag occupant sensor replacement cost in the long run.
- Passenger seat switch – This seat switch lets you easily adjust the seat for a comfortable sitting position depending on your height and measurements.
- Pyrotechnic inflator – This inflator contains the gas necessary for inflating the airbag.
- Electronic control unit – This is a ‘computer’ of the safety system that helps transmit signals to alert the SRS system of a crash.
- Seatbelt pretensioners – A pretensioner is used to retract some webbing of a seatbelt when a collision or crash occurs, tightening the seat belt to restrain the occupants and keep them safe during impact.
What are the airbag occupant sensors?
The airbag occupant sensor is the first line of detection and protection in the event of a crash, whether it be a head-on collision or off-road crash. The airbag occupant sensors alert the supplemental restraint system of the crash, and the SRS control module is used to then communicate with the safety system and decide if the airbags should be deployed.
The airbag occupant sensor helps prevent unnecessary deployment of airbags in the event of a crash and can help save on the overall airbag occupant sensor replacement cost. These sensors are pressure-sensitive and placed throughout the car.
There is an electronic switch that is placed in various spots around the vehicle to help detect any crash from various angles, ensuring the vehicle will recognize collision regardless of the spot of impact. If one of these switches is not working correctly, you will have a higher airbag occupant sensor replacement cost.
How does the airbag occupant sensor work?
- The airbag occupant sensor helps activate the airbags and decides whether they need to be activated in the current situation. This system is autonomous of other safety systems and helps inflate the airbag in an emergency or collision.
In the event of a crash and if the collision is extremely severe, the occupant sensor will sense the deceleration of the vehicle by creating an electrical connection inside of the airbag occupant sensor. When this connection is forced together, whether by a metallic ball or another connecting mechanism, the airbag occupant sensor will send this internal signal to the SRS computer.
The SRS computer has the main function of detecting the passenger seating positions, the locations of where the airbags are needed, lock the seat belts, turn off the engine, and deploy the airbags to help protect the passengers. If you find the SRS computer is not transmitting the proper signals, this is a sign you will have a higher airbag occupant sensor replacement cost.
Symptoms of a Faulty Airbag occupant sensor
When the airbag occupant sensor does not deploy or has failed, this can lead to a dangerous safety issue in the event of a crash. In this case, the airbag warning light will come on the dashboard and alert the driver if there is an issue in the SRS system. In some instances, you will find the check engine light may also come on at the same time as the airbag occupant sensor light.
Check Engine Light
If the check engine light also illuminates, this could be a sign of further damage and a higher airbag occupant sensor replacement cost. When you notice this, you may also notice performance disadvantages, like the vehicle not cranking or starting until the trouble code is cleared.
Inability of Airbag Deployment
Lastly, airbag deployment is a huge symptom of an airbag occupant sensor function, with failure meaning that the airbags cannot deploy in the event of a crash.
Can you drive with a faulty airbag occupant sensor?
Driving a car with a malfunctioning airbag occupant sensor is an unsafe and irresponsible idea that should never be done. If you do this, it means you will be risking your safety and your passengers’ safety since the airbags will not deploy in the event of an accident.
Not only is driving without safety precautions extremely risky but if the airbags are not operational, the car will not pass any safety inspections. If this is the case, you will have a very high airbag occupant sensor replacement cost, and you could receive a fine from your federal or state inspections.
When the airbag warning light or check engine light is displayed on the dashboard, you should take immediate action to correct the root cause of the issue. However, if you need to get from point A to point B for a very time-sensitive reason, you can still operate the vehicle without an operating SRS system – although we strongly advise against it.
How often do I need to replace the airbag occupant sensors?
Airbags usually fail for two different reasons that can lead to a higher airbag occupant sensor replacement cost.
First, collisions with an object with a high mass and weight can cause the airbag deployment sensor to deploy. When the airbag occupant sensor deploys, this immediately necessitates a replacement after being used. Unfortunately, this collision can happen immediately after you begin driving, a few hundred miles down the road, or not at all – it all depends on your driving habits and the luck of the draw.
Rusted occupant sensors
The second reason why you may need to replace your airbag occupant sensors that could lead to a high airbag occupant sensor replacement cost is rust due to humid climates or corrosion. In the event that the airbag occupant sensor becomes rusted, the corrosion can cause a short and open circuit situation, leading to the airbag occupant sensor and potentially check engine light to illuminate the dashboard.
The Bottom Line
To figure out how much you might spend on the airbag occupant sensor replacement cost, you need to take into account the function of airbags in your car, the repair prices for damaged airbags, symptoms of a faulty airbag occupant sensor, and how often to replace the airbag occupant sensor.