Airbags deploying during a collision is not an event you want to witness.
And in case your airbags do deploy, you need to get them replaced.
But how long does it take a mechanic to replace an airbag?
After all, it’s a crucial safety feature of your vehicle that should be fixed ASAP.
In this article, we’ll find out how long a mechanic takes to replace an airbag and what factors influence it. We’ll also find out the airbag replacement cost, followed by answers to some airbag-related questions.
This Article Contains:
- How Long Does It Take A Mechanic To Replace An Airbag?
- What Factors Influence The Time Taken To Replace An Airbag?
- How Much Does An Airbag Replacement Cost?
- 6 FAQs On Airbags
How Long Does It Take A Mechanic To Replace An Airbag?
On average, a mechanic may take 1 to 2 hours to replace an airbag.
Now, the actual time an airbag replacement takes will depend on the model of your vehicle and the type of airbag (passenger airbag, curtain airbag, knee airbags, or frontal airbags) the mechanic is replacing.
For example, it may take a mechanic an average of 1 to 2 hours to replace a deployed airbag in a Toyota. On the other hand, a Mercedes model may require close to 3 hours due to more complicated internal mechanisms.
But that’s not all.
Replacing a car airbag is a delicate process. Special tools may be required to complete the job, adding to the overall airbag replacement time.
That said, replacing a cars airbag can take even longer due to the related paperwork and the rush at your dealership or auto repair shop.
Let’s find out what all things affect the airbag replacement time.
What Factors Influence The Time Taken To Replace An Airbag?
Here are the four main criteria that will determine the precise airbag repair work time:
1. Vehicle Type
The type of vehicle you drive can make a significant difference to the airbag replacement time.
A smaller car will take less time to install a replacement airbag than a bigger or luxury car.
2. Severity Of Damage
If there’s no damage to your vehicle (like in a car accident), replacing a deployed airbag will be a quick job.
But, if the mechanic needs to fix an airbag system malfunction or perform a collision repair along with the replacement, naturally, it will take longer.
3. Availability Of Parts
Your mechanic may need to order airbags or other repair parts like an airbag control module or an OEM impact sensor (airbag sensor).
They may ask you to leave your vehicle at the shop till the parts arrive. This can lead to delays and push the time of repair further.
4. Mechanic’s Experience
An experienced mechanic can perform precise airbag repair work quicker than someone with just 1-2 years of experience under their belt. An expert will also have all the necessary tools and equipment to perform the replacement faster.
Now you know what affects airbag replacement time, surely you’d also want to know how much this replacement will cost.
How Much Does An Airbag Replacement Cost?
Generally, the airbag replacement cost can range from $1000 to $6000.
Wondering why it costs so much?
After a car accident or vehicle collision, several components linked to the airbag system or Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) get damaged. They need to be repaired or replaced along with a new airbag.
A collision repair can include:
- Frontal airbag sensor (impact sensor)
- Airbag module
- Front pretensioner seat belt
- Dashboard (some modern cars have airbags fitted on the dashboard)
- Steering wheel column
The airbag replacement cost also depends on the type and number of airbags you’re replacing.
Here’s a breakdown of replacing different airbag types:
- Driver-side airbag: $200 – $700
- Passenger side airbag: $400 – $1,000
- Side curtain airbag: $200 – $700
- Knee airbags: $400 and $1,000
Also, different brands of airbags cost differently. For example, a new airbag for a General Motors vehicle may cost less than BMW airbags. On top of this, when you factor in the labor charges for accurate airbag repairs, the airbag replacement cost can add up quickly.
Tip: Before you pay for an air bag replacement, check if your car is still under warranty. If yes, you may be able to get the repairs covered.
Let’s address some airbag-related questions next.
6 FAQs On Airbags
Here are answers to the common car airbag questions you might have:
1. What’s an Airbag System? How Does It Work?
An airbag system or Supplemental Restraint System is a crucial vehicle safety feature used along with the seat belt to protect you during a car accident.
While the seat belt helps restrain the body of the driver or passenger, the airbags protect the head from a vehicle collision. You also have a curtain airbag and knee airbags to protect other body parts.
How does the airbag deployment happen?
When a collision occurs, the impact sensors (located in front of your vehicle) send a signal to the airbag control module. The airbag module activates a fuel that ignites and fills the air bag with nitrogen gas.
The entire process happens in milliseconds. Once deployed, the airbags deflate quickly to prevent further damage to a passenger.
2. Does Car Insurance Cover Airbag Replacement?
Yes. Most car insurance companies do compensate for air bag replacement.
But some companies may apply certain conditions like paying for airbag repair only in case the vehicle owners are not at fault. However, there are companies that offer collision insurance that would compensate you for the air bag repair no matter who was at fault.
3. Can I Reuse An Airbag?
While resetting the same airbag is cheaper than buying the new one, reusing isn’t always feasible.
And even if your vehicles airbag is fit to reuse, reinstalling and reconfiguring it will still attract a cost of approximately $1000 per airbag.
One option is to buy a used steering wheel with an air bag installed if you only need to replace the driver’s airbag. This option is cheaper than buying a new airbag.
Important: Avoid purchasing cheap or counterfeit airbags to save money. A faulty airbag could end up deploying too late or may release metal shrapnel.
4. Is It Safe To Drive Without Airbags?
You should never drive a vehicle without an airbag or with a defective airbag. Doing so puts your and the safety of your passenger at risk.
Did you know?
The instances of injury and death in road accidents increase by 30% if there’s an airbag system malfunction. The fatality rate is 52% higher if you don’t wear seatbelts.
These numbers are reason enough for you to get a quality airbag repair at the earliest.
But that’s not all.
If you don’t install a new airbag, the airbag light on the dash will also stay on, and your vehicle will not pass a safety inspection. This means you won’t be able to register your car or resell it.
5. What Should I Do If My Car Has An Airbag Recall?
If you receive a letter for an airbag recall, it’s a safety concern, and you shouldn’t ignore it.
Contact your dealer ASAP to replace the recalled airbag for free. If the dealer refuses the repair, notify the manufacturer immediately. Vehicle owners can also sign up at NHTSA.gov/Alerts to be notified of any future recalls.
Did you know: Approximately 67 million Takata airbags have been recalled because they can explode when deployed, causing serious injury or even death. You can check for Takata airbag recall using your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN.)
6. How To Replace An Airbag?
Unless you’re a professional mechanic, you should avoid replacing your cars airbag yourself. An incorrect airbag deployment can prove fatal.
But if you still want to know, here’s how a mechanic will perform airbag replacement on the driver’s side:
- Disconnect your car battery to prevent the airbag from deploying accidentally.
- Remove the steering wheel column to access the driver’s airbag.
- Remove the old airbag by disconnecting wires from the airbag control module.
- Install the new airbag.
- Reconnect the battery and test the horn or any functions on the steering wheel to ensure the battery connection is made.
Replacing a vehicles airbag is a delicate process, and it’s essential to do it correctly to ensure your road safety. If you need an expert mechanic to diagnose your airbag issue and perform other related repairs, contact RepairSmith.
With RepairSmith, you get:
- Convenient, online booking
- Expert technicians who perform quality repairs
- Competitive and upfront pricing
- 12-month | 12,000-mile warranty on every auto repair
Contact us, and our mechanics will come to you!