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Can You Drive a Car with Deployed Airbags?

  • Car Care Tips
  • Xavier Sabastian
  • 5 minutes

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Can you drive a car with deployed airbags? If so, how long? What’s most likely to happen next? How soon can you resolve this issue? The situation can be stressful, but stay calm and take steps to rectify the problem. 

You cannot and should never drive with deployed airbags. There are many risk factors associated with driving a car with deployed airbags. However, if you act at the right time and see that the situation is under control and doesn’t happen again, then you’re safe. This article discusses when airbags deploy, how to act after the occurrence, and things you should know if such a situation arises. 

When do my car’s airbags deploy? 

Your car’s airbag deploys due to a sudden and strong crash. Most airbags deploy at a force of 10–12 mph. Some great quality car airbags can withstand crashes up to 16 mph. 

Common reasons for airbag deployment 

Airbag deployment can happen due to the following: 

  • Cheap quality airbags: The manufacturers of airbags sometimes compromise on quality. This can be one of the reasons for airbag deployment. 
  • Improper sensors: Your airbags can stop working if there is a problem with the sensors. If the sensors don’t work on time, the degree of injury is likely to increase. 
  • Chemical reactions: airbags deploy due to chemical reactions, too. When the inflation capacity of the airbag is substandard, it causes more injuries. 
  • Wrongly placed: If the airbag is not placed where it should be, injuries can be bigger than expected. 
  • Quality check: When the manufacturers of car airbags skip the quality check, they deploy sooner. 
  • Previously deployed: Again, when the manufacturers fail to check the usage details of the airbags, there is a chance of airbag deployment. 

What should I do after my car’s airbags deploy? 

Once your car’s airbag deploys, the situation can be quite traumatic, and you may survive the situation with injuries. However, once everything is back to normal and you feel better, you should ideally take the car to a mechanic and replace the airbags. Go for a replacement as soon as possible, especially if you are driving with your kids. 

Also, driving with cars deployed is illegal in many states. So, you’ll first need to check with your state’s DMV if you plan to drive anytime soon. 

What is the process for replacing deployed airbags in your car? 

Deploying old airbags is the first thing you should do once everything is back to normal. Here’s the step-by-step process you should follow to replace your inflated airbags and drive  : 

  • Remove the deployed airbag: To make the deployment easy, locate all the screws first. Then, carefully take each screw out. 
  • Next, disconnect the wires of your car battery. Immediately after removing the screws, detach the car battery wires, so there is no sudden power flow. 
  • Now, look for the screws on the steering wheel and slowly remove them. 
  • Once you remove all the wires and screws, find the connectors to the airbag and carefully unplug them. 
  • As you’ve successfully removed the deployed airbags in your car, don’t forget to replace them with new ones. 
  • Next, slowly insert the airbags into the steering wheel. See that the steering wires don’t tangle or get stuck to the airbags while putting them back. 
  • Once the airbags are in place, put one hand on the airbag, and tighten the screws with your other hand. Take your time to fasten the screws, as you don’t want them to come out loose again. 

Major airbag injuries, you must know. 

When the airbag in your car deploys, you may face major injuries, such as: 

  • Asthma 
  • Internal bleeding 
  • Hearing loss 
  • Swollen face 
  • Neck and back injuries 
  • Rib fracture 
  • Retinal injury 
  • Paralysis 

Driving with deployed airbags can cause major health issues and defects. Therefore, make sure to change them as soon as possible. 

How to prevent deployed airbag injuries? 

Even after replacing deployed airbags in your car, you must be safe while driving. Here are some quick tips to prevent deploying airbags in the future: 

  • Always wear seatbelts while traveling. 
  • Sit straight and sit at a distance from the steering wheel. As a thumb rule, sit at least 10 inches from the steering area. 
  • Make sure that your children travel facing forward in the backseat. Even then, see that your child wears a seatbelt throughout the drive. 
  • Children aged 4 to 7 must travel in the back seat, using a baby seat, with seatbelts fastened. These precautions, combined with parental monitoring, make your little one safe. 
  • Dispose of and replace any deployed airbags rather than driving with them. 

What is the right way to dispose of deflated airbags? 

The longer you drive a car with deployed airbags, the more dangerous it becomes. Hence, you must know what to do with the deployed airbags. Here are some tips that can help you choose the right way: 

  • Recycling is the best way to get rid of your airbags. Find a reliable recycler and dispose of your old airbags. 
  • You can also visit the nearest dealerships or collision centers to get help removing the deployed airbags correctly. 
  • Check with the recycling agency if they’re using a certified waste processor, so there is no doubt about pollution. 

Cost of replacing deployed airbags 

Knowing the cost of replacing deployed airbags is important since you can look for cheaper replacement centers. So, the replacement cost to replace one airbag comes to around $1000 to $2000. The cost may vary depending on your car type and its make. On the other hand, repairing your car’s airbag should cost about $1000. 

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