Frequently Ask Questions about Airbags

Frequently Asked Questions about Airbag Replacement Parts

The following are commonly asked questions and there respective answers to issues regarding oem used airbags and airbag replacement parts.

Airbag Quick Reference Links

Q. What do I need to replace when my airbags deploy?

  • From 1989-1993: you will need to replace only the drivers airbag and either reprogram or replace the control module and replace damaged impact sensors and clockspring. (If Needed)
    How driver airbags work?
  • From 1994-2000: (roughly) By now most cars come equipped with both drivers and passenger airbag and therefore both must be replaced. You must also reprogram or replace the controls module and replace damaged impact sensors and clockspring. (If Needed) How passenger airbags work?
  • From 2001-Present: Manufactures began to implement dual stage deployment airbags (smart airbags) along with seat, side, curtain, knee and foot airbags. Also, seat belt pre-tensioners were developed and are now a regular part of the SRSsystem.
  • With the advent of smart airbags the only airbags that deploy is determined by the placement of the occupants in the car and on which side of the vehicle the impact occurred.
  • (Varies by model) Head-on collision requires that you replace both front airbags and either reprogram or replace the control module. As well as replace damaged impact sensors and clock-spring (If Needed.) Both seat belts will also need to be replaced. As well as knee and foot airbags if equipped on your vehicle.
  • (Varies by model)Impacts that involve side collision will require in addition to the above side airbags and curtain airbags when equipped on your vehicle.

Q. Why is my airbag light on or flashing?

The flashing air bag light indicates that the restraint control module, which includes the sensors, has identified a fault in the system and has deactivated the air bag and pretensioners. A scan tool can interrogate the system to identify the specificfault code. In fact, the next time you turn on the key, watch the air bag light and try to determine the "lamp fault code" it is flashing. The "LFC" sequence might help you identify the specific problem with the system. For example, a sequence of one flash followed by six flashes indicates a problem with the passenger-side air bag.

Q. Why are my seat belts locked?

Seat belt pre-tensioners were installed on vehicles starting as early as 1999. These pre-tensioners act in sequence with the airbag system in your car. Therefore, whenever you are involved in an accident the pre-tensioners fire off pulling you back in your seat providing a safer distance from the airbags. Seat belt pre-tensioners have a much faster reaction time then the older seat belt versions making for a much safer product. However, once the tensioner is triggered it locks the seat belt straps and they are no longer functional.

Q. Can my seat belts be repaired?

Yes, in most cases we can rebuild your original seat belts by replacing your pre-tensioner and replacing the necessary components making your seatbelts fully functional and at a price that is more affordable than a new replacement at the dealer.

Q. Do I have to replace my front impact sensors?

It all depends on the severity of the accident. However, in most cases the front impact sensors are reusable unless they have been physically damaged or the wire leading to it has been crimped by metal. You can replace all airbag components and if the light is still flashing a sensor code you can test the wire for continuity or replace the sensor if need be. However, in most cases the impact sensors can be reused.

Q. Where is my cars airbag module located?

The control module is also known as the 591, airbag computer, diagnostic unit, DERM-unit, diagnostic sensor and it is located in many different parts of the car. We have to know the year, make and model of the vehicle to be able to tell you where to look for your module. Nonetheless, if you need help locating the control module in your vehicle simple click this link -> Airbag Module Location and we will be happy to provide that information free of charge.

Q. Do I have to replace my control module?

The control module is also known as the 591, airbag computer, diagnostic unit, DERM-unit, diagnostic sensor, and some others. However, regardless of what you call it, after an accident the control module must either be replaced or reprogrammed. However, in most Chrysler models the control module will reset it-self after you have replaced all the airbags in your vehicle. Therefore, the comments above apply to all other manufacturers.

Q. Can I replace just the drivers airbag?

First of all, anytime any component of the SRS system in your car is missing the airbag light will indicate that your airbags are not active. Second, leaving an open circuit (connectors not connected) can cause a faulty ground and accidentally activate the airbag that is installed, even while you are driving. Therefore, all of the airbag components must be reinstalled to factory specifications.

Q. Do I have to replace the clock-spring?

The clock-spring is also referred to as the coil spring. It's job is to provide electrical continuity as the steering wheel is rotated. When the drivers airbag is deployed the chemical reaction that occurs heats the gas cylinder and the connector from the clock-spring is melted. If this happens, then you have no choice and the clock-spring must be replaced. However, newer style connectors survive the heat transfer and therefore, the clock-spring can be recycled. So, in order to determine whether you need to replace your clock spring or not. You must remove the driver side airbag and see if the connector attached to the airbag cylinder is melted and fused together. Furthermore, all connectors that attach to airbag components have a locking mechanism and therefore, you must remove the lock prior to separating the male and female connectors.

Q. Are the vinyl covers included with my airbags?

The driver side airbag always includes the vinyl cover, however, some manufacturers have incorporated the passenger airbag underneath the dash. This type of passenger airbag is referred to as an "Innerbag" and the dash is sold separate from the passenger airbag. Although the majority of passenger airbags do include the cover many new models require that the whole dashboard be replaced.

Q. Is the control module included with my purchase?

As with most companies all parts are sold separately and the airbag control module is not included with the price of any airbag purchased.

Q. How fast do you have to drive for airbags to deploy?

There is no set answer for this question. What we do know is that you must have both decelaration and impact for airbags to deploy. However, this could occur even at very low rates of speed, such as, five mile per hour.

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