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how much does it cost to replace an air bag

How Much Does It Cost To Replace An Airbag? Detailed Cost Breakdown

It is easy for us to forget about the airbags that are installed in our automobiles until the time comes when their deployment is necessary to avert serious harm. The airbag system is hidden away until it is suddenly activated, at which point the driver or passengers are left to think about what action to do next.

The activation of a vehicle airbag at a crucial life-threatening moment can save lives or lessen the severity of a serious injury. However, the deployment may also leave broken panel trim and discharged airbags in the cabin. Assuming the car in issue has not been completely destroyed, this results in a significant mess that has to be cleaned up. Many people are left with the issue of how much does it cost to replace an airbag?

Even while most people anticipate that this figure would be fairly high, very few people are able to put their finger on an exact amount. To put such concerns to rest, we have come up with this informative article.

Continue reading to discover more about the airbag system found in a car, including the airbag replacement costs in its entirety.

The Various Parts of a Car’s Airbag System

The airbag system of a vehicle consists of a number of different components, each of which is as important to the system’s successful functioning. To have a better understanding of the operation of the airbag system as a whole, one has to be familiar with its components.

The following is a list of a few of the most important components that make up an airbag system in a vehicle.

  1. Airbag Module

An airbag module houses the actual airbag that is used in a vehicle. This assembly also comprises a specific inflator/ignitor unit, which is responsible for initiating the process of inflation. It does this by accepting an electrical charge from the crash sensors or SRS unit of a vehicle and then releasing it.

  1. Crash Sensors

The majority of modern automobiles are equipped with a plethora of auxiliary sensors, in addition to the standard crash sensor that is positioned in the middle of the dashboard. When a vehicle is hit, the crash sensors make contact with one another inside. This enables an electrical charge to be transferred to each airbag module that corresponds to the impact.

  1. Airbag Diagnostic (SRS) Unit

When the vehicle is first started, an airbag diagnostic unit performs basic system self-checks. It then notifies the driver of any problems discovered with the system. In certain automobiles, this module also plays an active part in the process of relaying signals between the crash sensors and the airbag modules.

  1. SRS Wiring Harness/Wiring

A customized wire harness is used to relay all of the electrical signals that are sent across the whole of an automobile’s airbag system. The airbag diagnostic unit, airbag control modules, and crash sensors are all connected to one another through this harness in a vehicle.

In addition to that, the use of this harness makes it possible to illuminate the SRS light which you can find on the dashboard of a car.

  1. Clock-Spring

Clock springs are employed by vehicles’ SRS units in order to keep their respective steering wheel-mounted airbag control modules in continual electrical contact with one another.

When the steering wheel is turned, a clock spring with a wiring lead in the form of a ribbon is spooled to a retractable center assembly. This avoids the wire from being caught and prevents current loss.

  1. Seat Belt Pretensioner

A seat belt pre-tensioner locks the passenger’s seat belt in place just when the collision occurs, ensuring that a driver or passenger is held in the ideal position for airbag deployment even though it is not technically a part of the airbag system itself.

However, after being locked, a seat belt pre-tensioner must either be taken apart or replaced and unlocked by hand.

Can Airbags Be Used After Deployment?

Modern airbags are not intended to be used again once they have been deployed. Because of the way that airbags deploy, it is physically impossible to get more than one usage out of any one airbag. Although it’s true that some of the very first airbags ever produced were intended to be used more than once, this is not the case with modern airbags at all.

Modern airbags are able to rapidly inflate because of a particular chemical process that is used in their manufacturing. To be more exact, potassium-nitrate and sodium-azide are allowed to react with one another in the case of a collision, which ultimately results in the production of nitrogen gas as a byproduct of the reaction.

After the first deployment of an airbag, there are no longer sufficient amounts of these chemicals left to cater another reaction at a crucial time.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace An Airbag of a Car?

The cost to replace one airbag in a vehicle and bring the airbag system as a whole back to a fully operational condition might vary widely from one instance to another. This is partly due to the fact that no two accidents are ever identical to one another. In addition, the number of airbag system components that are disrupted during a certain collision may also vary.

Because of this, it is often impossible for a repair shop to provide an accurate quotation for the cost of repairing an airbag system after an accident unless first doing a comprehensive assessment of the vehicle.

How much does it cost to replace an airbag?

How much does it cost to replace an airbag
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It is best to break down the possible expenses on a case-by-case basis. The following is an average breakdown of the expenses associated with repairing some of the components of an airbag system that are the most often damaged.

  1. Airbag Module

One may anticipate paying anywhere from $200 to $800 for each airbag module or assembly. However, this cost simply accounts for the price of the materials; it does not include labor. The installation by itself will likely cost an additional $150 to $300 for each airbag.

This takes the overall cost to repair an airbag module or assembly to between $350 and $1,100 per unit when everything is added together.

  1. Crash Sensors

Airbag crash sensors are not inexpensive. The components alone may cost anything from $70-$350 per unit. When labor charges ranging from $50 to $100 are taken into account, the total cost of replacement may be expected to range anywhere from $120-$450.

  1. Clock-Spring

When an airbag deploys, the clock spring that is contained inside a steering wheel will almost always break. Because of this, the only reasonable option is to replace the component.

The cost of a clock spring is between $100 and $250, while the labor cost to install the spring often falls within the range of $100 to $150

  1. Seat Belt Pretensioner

After being involved in an accident, a seat belt pre-tensioner either has to be manually adjusted or it needs to be replaced. The cost to replace this ranges between around $150 and $250 per seat belt; however, such a unit may often be reset for a far lower price than the replacement cost.

  1. Airbag Diagnostic (SRS) Unit

After one or more of the airbags in a vehicle have been activated, the airbag diagnostic (SRS) unit should be manually reset or replaced. One can anticipate spending anywhere between $50 and $100 to have it reset; however, the cost of replacement (if it is necessary) may range anywhere from $500 to $1,000.

What Makes Airbags So Expensive?

In order for an airbag to even work as it was designed to, a certain chemical reaction has to take place. This reaction results in the formation of nitrogen, which then fills up the airbag to its maximum capacity.

Additionally, in the case of a collision, specialized modules or other components like collision sensors, none of which are inexpensive, have the potential to suffer damage as well. Even the labor that is necessary to replace such components is fairly expensive due to the extensive amount of expertise that is required to successfully complete jobs of this sort.

How Long Does it Take to Replace the Airbags?

Assuming that you have the expertise and equipment for the task, replacing an airbag is often not a procedure that requires an excessive amount of time to complete.

It takes between one and two hours to replace a single airbag on average. However, if more than one airbag has to be replaced, the amount of time needed to repair the vehicle would increase. When things are as bad as they can go, changing out many airbags in a single car might take up the greater part of an entire day.

Can We Replace the Airbags Ourselves?

Replacement of airbags is something that should be delegated to trained technicians. Entrusting a job like this to anybody other than certified repair facilities that are well-equipped and have skilled experts on staff would be unwise.

This eliminates the risk of an airbag being incorrectly installed, which, in turn, reduces the likelihood that the airbag won’t deploy in the case of an accident.

In addition, the installation of airbags may potentially be rather risky for those who lack the appropriate training.

Is it Possible to Drive a Car With Deployed Airbags?

Even though it is possible to drive a vehicle with one or more of its airbags deployed, it is not at all recommended.

There is a purpose behind the installation of airbags in all contemporary automobiles. Even an accident that is just moderately serious might be fatal if there are no airbags present and functioning correctly. In the case of a collision, an airbag is intended to maintain the passengers of a vehicle in the most secure posture possible while keeping them restrained.

In any case, an airbag that has been deployed should always be replaced immediately after the accident. As discussed earlier, leaving such replacement work to trained specialists is the best course of action.

Does Car Insurance Cover the Replacement of the Airbag?

After an accident in which one or more airbags are deployed, a driver’s insurance coverage will typically cover the cost of airbag replacement in its whole, in the vast majority of cases. However, before such a replacement or any other repair can take place, it is first necessary for your insurance company to decide whether or not they will consider your car to be a total loss.

If it is finally determined that your car is a complete loss, there will be no attempt made to fix it. Instead, you will be given a check for an amount that is roughly equivalent to the worth of your car before it was involved in the accident.

The Bottom Line  

Airbags are one of the most efficient security innovations in the world. It is acknowledged as one of the finest innovations of the 20th century. There are various additional safety advancements but none of them are as effective as airbags.

In the event of a collision, airbags have the potential to cut the number of injuries sustained by passengers by as much as half. If they are not correctly installed, they pose a significant risk of inflicting life-threatening injuries.

It might be expensive to repair them after a collision has occurred. The vast majority of individuals do not have that significant sum of money lying around for such automobile maintenance. However, to have the best possible safety while you drive, they are recommended to be in functioning order.

We hope this article was informative for you. If you have any questions regarding automobiles or about the airbags itself, please feel free to contact us.

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