Have you recently been in a vehicle accident? Have your airbags inflated in the case of a collision? Airbags are without a doubt a life-saving invention that has prevented numerous fatalities on the road. Here, we’ll examine the airbag mechanism and the airbag replacement cost.
An airbag replacement may be quite pricey. For the driver’s side and the passenger side, the new bags alone might cost $250 to $750 and $500 to $1,000, respectively.
You may anticipate spending $1,000 to $6,500 if labor is taken into account, with an average cost of $3,000 to $5,000. You will be required to pay that amount for each airbag that is repaired or replaced.
What Is an Airbag?
Vehicle airbags are a sort of safety feature that cooperates with seat belts to shield the head and upper body of the driver and passengers in the event of a forehead or side-impact accident.
The National Transportation Safety Board claims that airbags have been shown to save lives. An airbag and the use of a seatbelt can reduce driver fatalities in frontal collisions by 50%. Similar numbers apply to both passengers and side impacts. Statistics for side-impact crashes and passengers are comparable.
Accidents are unavoidable, yet we have no control over them. Nobody wants to be in one. Airbags, a sort of Supplemental Restraint System, are fortunately standard equipment in all modern vehicles. Airbags are technically referred to as SRSs, or Supplementary Restraint Systems.
How Airbags Operate
It is necessary to look at how airbags operate to understand where the expense of replacement airbags originates from. When there is an accident, airbags, a safety device, inflate, and when someone touches them, they deflate.
An airbag quickly inflates by a controlled explosion in a moderate to severe accident before deflating as it comes in contact with a person’s head or body.
Impact sensors recognize crashes by turning a decrease in acceleration into an electrical signal that is sent to the airbag control module. Following that, this computer deactivates the airbag.
The car’s impact sensors will often identify a collision. The driver’s and passenger’s airbags will be instructed to deploy as a result of this. Hopefully, this will avoid harm.
Seat belts can reduce the body’s resistance to movement, while airbags can protect a driver’s or passenger’s head. In addition to seatbelts, airbags are utilized, and they will inflate to offer support.
They could be referred to as an additional restraint system. Airbags reduce the chance of lower and upper body injuries from collisions with the dashboard or steering wheel in your vehicle.
The number of airbags in your car will vary depending on its age, model, and kind. All contemporary automobiles come equipped with airbags to protect the occupants in the case of a collision. Larger and more recent models frequently have more.
Since 1998, airbags have been standard equipment in new cars thanks to regulations requiring them. They may be seen on a wide range of automobiles, from small vehicles to SUVs.
Factors Affecting Airbag Replacement Cost
What causes an airbag replacement cost to range anywhere between $1,000 and $6,000, materials and labor included?
Make and Model
The kind and make of the car decide the price. This will vary based on which airbags are being replaced, as driver-side airbags are frequently more affordable than passenger-side airbags. The size and design of the airbags contribute to many of the cost variations.
Remember that several airbags may activate if you are in an accident. As a consequence, double the cost of the airbags by the quantity installed.
The airbag replacement cost depends on where you get it. Although you may usually get replacements online for less money, you won’t know how to install them.
Depending on where you buy it, like with any automobile component, your costs may be higher or lower. Instead of buying an airbag from the original equipment manufacturer, you may save a ton of money by doing it online or at a salvage yard (OEM).
The airbag’s quality, nevertheless, must be taken into account. Because they are created by your carmaker specifically to fit your vehicle, OEM components will almost always offer greater reliability. You will still have to pay extra for this degree of reliability, though.
Given that they have their suppliers, your technician could or might not be prepared to let you shop elsewhere for the component. The cost of labor would also be your responsibility.
In addition to quality concerns, your mechanic may be reluctant to install online-purchased airbags. You risk receiving a defective airbag if you don’t purchase from a reputable vendor.
This might lead to a variety of problems, including not deploying at all, not deploying in time, and the release of metal shrapnel.
Even if you purchase an airbag from a trustworthy internet vendor, you probably won’t receive the same guarantee as you would if you bought the airbag from your technician. In the long term, this might cost you more money.
Cost of Labor
Labor is yet another significant cost component. It might be more difficult to replace some airbags than others. Whether or not more airbag-related components are harmed will also have an impact on labor costs.
Amount of Airbags
It is important to remember that it is unusual for just one airbag to deploy in a collision. As a result, you must multiply the cost of airbags by the number of airbags when determining their price.
Airbag replacement costs alone can cost up to $1,000, but driver-side airbags are often more affordable than passenger-side airbags. There is no way around the reality that most Audi replacement airbags must be purchased straight from the manufacturer.
This is due to the requirement to reprogram the car’s electronics; however, doing so with an Audi equipped with aftermarket airbags may be challenging. It is often better to consult experts who can give more accurate estimates when it comes to the cost of such a repair.
Cost of Airbags
The airbag replacement cost varies. If you want to keep your new car safe to drive, you might want to get the airbags in it replaced. Budgeting for the expense of upkeep and replacement is crucial, though.
If not, you could have a harsh shock when you go to your neighborhood car shop. It might be higher than you expected.
It should be noted that the cost of replacing an airbag varies depending on the make and model of your car. The cost will increase if you add more airbags. Even various auto dealers will charge you differently.
Think about the many brand-new airbags and the labor costs at the local car repair shop. The driver’s side airbag, for instance, can cost a car owner between $200 and $700.
Other Affected Components
Several associated parts, in addition to the airbag itself, may also require replacement. Your labor expenses will increase if the technician additionally has to repair the fuse or relay box, airbag module, SRS unit or indication light, seat belt tensioner, or cable reel.
Additionally, you want to think about any potential harm that an accident can do to other components of your car. You will have to spend considerably more if you need to have your windshield replaced or bodywork done.
How Much Does Airbag Replacement Cost?
As already mentioned, the extent of additional work that has to be done affects how much replacing airbags will cost. In most cases, replacing an airbag will also require checking out and fixing a few associated parts, like those listed below.
The airbags are controlled by the airbag control module. Additionally, be prepared to have to fix your airbag control module. The impact sensor is located in this module, and in the majority of cars, it cannot be reset.
In other words, if you replace the airbag but leave this module alone, the system will just cease operating, meaning that your repairs were for nothing.
The overall airbag replacement cost for professionals might range from $1,000 to more than $6,500 due to the large number of parts that need to be fixed or replaced. Approximately one-third of the total is made up of labor expenses.
The exact cost is determined by a variety of factors, including the vehicle’s year, make, and model, the position and quantity of airbags, and the number and kind of other vital components that may need to be replaced (such as the airbag computer, dashboard, springs, sensors, instrument panel, steering wheel, and windshield).
A driver-side airbag may cost between $150 and $600 per bag. The passenger-side airbag costs from $300 to $800 at least.
Front airbags do not often have knee airbags or side curtains, but if they do, they must be replaced. Budget around the same amount as for a passenger-side airbag. However, these costs may change based on the size and design of the airbags.
Vehicles having seatbelt projects will also require them to be fixed or replaced after a deployment. Pretensioner maintenance will cost you between $80 and $120, and replacement parts can cost considerably more.
The airbag module or ECU must at least be reset, which will cost between $50 and $150. If the airbag control module has to be replaced, budget between $400 and $1,200 for a new one.
How to Replace an Airbag
Some people may be curious as to whether they can replace an airbag on their own. Consequently, you might be able to avoid paying a hefty airbag replacement cost.
You shouldn’t try to change the airbags on your own. Your safety depends too much on this component for it to be performed by a novice without the necessary skills.
If you make an error, it won’t work correctly, endangering your safety. By changing the airbags yourself, the cost of replacement can be reduced to a negligible amount. It’s also conceivable that when installing it, you’ll unintentionally activate the airbag.
This might cause catastrophic damage in addition to being a financial waste since the airbag may no longer be effective.
You might be compelled to drive without airbags if the expense of replacing them has surprised you. You’ll still be saving a few thousand dollars. Driving is not recommended if your car doesn’t have airbags. Keep in mind that the airbags in your vehicle are there for a reason, so you should replace them after an accident if you want to stay safe.
You’ll encounter several problems if you simply eliminate the deployed airbags without replacing them. Since airbags were made to protect you, it is simply not safe to operate without them. Your chances of dying or getting hurt in an accident rise by 30% without airbags.
The risk of putting yourself or your passengers in danger is not one you want to take. Remember that a lot of data points to the fact that airbags protect you from injury.
What Else Arises During an Airbag Replacement?
As previously stated, the airbag replacement cost will also depend on the necessary additional labor. The following components, among others, will typically need to be inspected and repaired in addition to the airbag replacement cost.
A Controller for Airbags
The airbag control module will also probably need to be replaced. The impact sensor in this module cannot typically be reset because it is a part of most automobiles.
In other words, if you replace the airbag but not this module, your repairs will be for naught and the system will simply not function.
Car Components Affected by Deployment
Keep in mind that the airbag replacement cost will also need to take into account any damage caused by the airbag’s deployment in addition to the airbag’s cost.
Since just the steering wheel would have been impacted, replacing the steering wheel airbag should be simple. However, the dashboard must be fixed since passenger airbags cause it to be opened.
In the event of side hits, airbags may rip seat coverings. The cost of fixing the headliner, which was almost definitely torn in the deployment, will be included in the cost of replacing the side curtain airbags.
Your mechanic can explain to you which parts were harmed during airbag deployment and how that influences airbag prices.
Components of Seat Belts
In addition to replacing the airbags, your mechanic will probably also replace the seat belt retractors and buckles. This is because the retractor and/or buckle of your seat belt most likely include pre-tensioners.
These one-time-use pre-tensioners will tighten just before an airbag inflates. If your new airbags have to deploy in the future, you won’t receive that additional protection if the technician does not replace them.
An Examination of the Wiring and Connectors
The technician will need to check all of the airbag system’s cabling and connectors. This is a crucial step since they could have been harmed by your crash or the airbag deployment.
Should You Replace Your Airbags After an Accident?
No matter how severe the damage looks to be, your vehicle’s bodywork may be fixed and its airbags may be replaced.
Depending on the situation, you could decide not to claim your insurance or your accident might not be covered by the insurer’s policy. You might be concerned that if the airbags go off, your automobile would be a total loss. After an accident, the cost of replacing an airbag often rises.
A complete loss isn’t necessarily the case in these situations, though. Your automobile may be fixed at a nearby body shop, even though it will cost a lot of money. The prices start to soar when you bring up replacing your airbags.
How Much Time is Required to Replace Airbags?
It’s important to keep in mind that replacing an airbag necessitates a qualified technician.
Therefore, if a company provides it as a service, they will almost surely assign their finest technicians to it, increasing the cost. It usually takes 1-2 hours to replace an airbag, depending on the car you drive.
If the store charges $150 per hour, the arithmetic is straightforward. Don’t forget to include the diagnostic fee, which is often around $100.
Is Replacing Your Airbag Worth It?
You might be wondering whether it is worthwhile now that you know the answer to the question, “How much does airbag replacement cost?” is at least several thousand dollars. We’ve previously established that you shouldn’t operate your vehicle without an airbag, but what happens if you’re still not able to replace it?
When Getting Replacement Airbags Is Not a Good Idea
There are undoubtedly some situations where replacing the airbags is not the best course of action, albeit every circumstance is unique.
- The cost of labor or the cost of airbags is higher than the value of the automobile.
- Your automobile needs considerable extra maintenance to replace airbags.
- After a collision, airbags can be changed, but your vehicle will be in the auto repair shop for too long, leaving you without a means of transportation.
Deployed passenger knee airbag after a frontal collision test
- You require transportation for everyday life and cannot afford to have the airbags replaced.
- You simply want to go on with your life and don’t want to wait around for time-consuming repairs.
- Following your accident, you no longer feel secure when driving.
- The automobile was due for replacement nonetheless.
Making the decision not to change an overhead airbag or other component is not harmful. Simply acknowledge that you won’t be using your automobile again.
Can I Drive if My Airbags Aren’t Working?
You could consider continuing to drive your damaged car if you have errands to run and work to get to. You could believe it’s okay to drive, especially if only the airbags were deployed and there was no exterior damage.
This isn’t going to be the best move in terms of safety. Your airbags must be operational to pass your state safety inspection. Additionally, you’ll be forced to look at the airbag warning light on your instrument panel.
Driving without functioning airbags is generally not advised since it puts the lives of everyone in the car in danger. On the road, collisions can occur at any time. It’s best to be ready and make sure they’re functional.
Frontal airbags have been credited for saving 50,457 lives, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
It’s best to constantly have functioning airbags. When it comes to the safety of you and your passengers, don’t take any chances.
Some regulations mandate that your car must have functional airbags in several nations. If your airbags aren’t functional, your insurance provider may also void your coverage.
Driving a car that lacks all the necessary safety features in the event of an accident is never worth the risk. Therefore, if your airbags have ever been deployed, consider having them replaced.
Is a Car Totaled If an Airbag Deploys?
Simply put, no. The deployment of your car’s airbags does not cause it to be a total loss. However, if you consider how complete loss functions when you intend to make an insurance claim, things become more challenging.
If the airbags were deployed, would your insurance coverage declare your automobile totaled? It depends. When an insurance representative checks on your automobile, they will attempt to ascertain the car’s worth. It is also the whole expense of the harm done.
A total loss situation is frequently uncommon if your automobile is more recent. But the insurance provider can declare your automobile a total loss if it is older and worth less.
Additionally, they could classify your automobile as a total loss if the cost of repairs exceeds or is equivalent to its market value.
Front-center airbag of a Chevrolet Traverse deployed
Is it Possible to Reuse or Replace Airbags?
You might be wondering if you can reuse and re-inflate your airbags rather than having to buy new ones. Airbags can only be inflated once, which is a crucial fact to be aware of. The price is impacted by this.
This implies that if you have been in a car accident, it will need to be replaced. They are a one-time component of your car, and if they are deployed, that is it, regardless of how bad the incident was.
All of your car’s airbags should deploy and inflate in the event of an accident. This includes the passenger side airbag, the knee airbag, and more. When your car is being repaired, you will be obliged to replace them all.
What Alternatives Exist to the Airbag Replacement Cost?
The airbag replacement cost might be significant. If their automobile requires repairs, some car owners might not be able to pay the cost of replacement labor. If the car is an older model, the fees can potentially exceed its value.
Although it is usually advised to replace airbags for safety reasons, there are other alternatives. You may make some money by selling your old automobile in its current condition.
If you don’t have a lot of funds, this may be a good alternative for you. The issue is that selling your automobile privately might take a lot of time. Posting internet ads and persuading people to buy your car, even for parts, is a nuisance.
Even if your car is a nice make and model, many scrap yards won’t give you a reasonable price for it. This might be upsetting and prevent you from getting the money you deserve.
Purchase and Installation of Airbag Components
Authorized auto body shops, car dealerships, or select auto repair shops are the ideal places to have parts of your airbag system put into your vehicle. Some stores focus just on airbags.
Online stores may offer reduced airbag prices, but they frequently come with a limited warranty. It is important to exercise caution when buying an airbag since defective or counterfeit models have the potential to deploy at the wrong time during a collision or to release metal shrapnel.
Through a reliable internet merchant, it is frequently feasible to repair specific components or reset the ECU. The most well-known provider of airbag services is likely MyAirBags.
You just mail them the damaged components, and they return to you in a fixed state. SRS parts may frequently be found on eBay, but make sure the seller has a lot of positive ratings and is a reputable vendor.
Will Airbag Replacement Cost Be Covered by Auto Insurance?
Depending on your coverage, your insurance may pay for airbag repair expenses. Replacement airbags are covered under collision and comprehensive insurance, two main forms of coverage.
Regardless of who was to blame for the accident that caused your airbag to deploy, collision insurance would pay for the repair of the airbag.
Yes, the majority of insurance policies will cover the cost of replacing your airbags if you were in an accident and the other driver was at fault, in which case the at-fault driver’s liability insurance would cover it, or if you have collision insurance, which will cover damage to your car regardless of who was at fault.
Some cars provide the option to turn off the passenger airbag
However, due to the expensive cost of new airbags and installation fees, certain cars with modest cash values may be deemed a total loss by the driver’s insurance company if the airbags inflate in addition to whatever other damage takes place. In other words, your insurance provider may find it more cost-effective to declare your automobile a total loss than to pay for repairs.
Because of this, a motorist may think about paying for maintenance such as airbag replacement and other services independently of their vehicle insurer.
Although an airbag might save your life in an accident, replacing or repairing one can be expensive. Your replacement expense might be $1,000 or more, depending on which airbags need to be changed and how many have been used.
Examine your alternatives after having the system examined by a skilled specialist. If you have collision insurance, check to see whether the repairs are covered by it.
There is a possibility that the cost of repairs will exceed the value of your car. In such circumstances, the automobile will be deemed a total loss, and you will need to look for a new model.
Nyangano Maurice specializes in vehicle troubleshooting and has more than 10 years of experience in the automobile industry. Over many years of experience as a car mechanic, he has acquired a broad range of skills, including engine repair, brake systems, electrical systems, and more. He frequently hosts community workshops and training programs to help motor vehicle owners understand their vehicles better.