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#1
Old 09-26-2010, 10:56 AM
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Removing a deployed airbag.

I was recently in a minor accident and the airbag deployed. Some googling just showed guys that cut the bag off and went from there. That can't be standard.

It's a '93 Accord. Replacing it is probably more expensive than the car's worth, so if I can just remove it and use it for a week or so while I shop around for a new(er) car, I'd like to do that.

Any help? Is it legal to drive a car without airbags in Virginia?
#2
Old 09-26-2010, 11:05 AM
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Location: Garden Spot of the South
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snarky_Kong View Post
Is it legal to drive a car without airbags in Virginia?
Considering the number of cars on the road which were built without airbags, yes.
#3
Old 09-26-2010, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by NinetyWt View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snarky_Kong View Post
Is it legal to drive a car without airbags in Virginia?
Considering the number of cars on the road which were built without airbags, yes.
Those are grandfathered in though, right? Aren't airbags mandatory now?

I know that the police required me to have to car towed from the scene because the airbags went off.

Last edited by Snarky_Kong; 09-26-2010 at 11:33 AM.
#4
Old 09-26-2010, 12:06 PM
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I'm not sure about the legality of it, but the air bag usually isn't a big deal to remove. Look for screws or plastic pop-off covers on the back of the steering wheel. The main problems with working on them is the danger of setting them off, which you don't have to worry about. you can unhook the neg battery terminal and out wait the capacitor ( up to 30 minutes, some cars) to be extra safe. Be careful to watch for spring loaded parts that may be in the horn switch
#5
Old 09-26-2010, 01:22 PM
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The one time I deployed my airbags, I had to drive the car a long way home and then for a couple of days until I got things worked out with the insurance company.

The driver's side, I was able to just stuff it down into the bottom opening of the steering wheel. It only took a couple of turns of the wheel to get it to where it wouldn't flip the blinkers on and off.

I think I took a razor knife and cut out the passenger side airbag to get it out of the way.

It didn't make any difference because the airbag units had to be replaced anyway. It's not like they fold them up and reuse them.

I'm not sure how the law reads, but I assume that all cars have to be equipped with airbags from the factory. Once you have the car, I don't know if you have to keep them. Back in the 90s, there was a local shop that you could pay to disable the airbags. People were afraid they would deploy when they weren't supposed to.
#6
Old 09-26-2010, 11:28 PM
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Location: Garden Spot of the South
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snarky_Kong View Post
Those are grandfathered in though, right? Aren't airbags mandatory now?

IANAL so technically I shouldn't try to answer, but I'm kind of curious too. If they were mandatory, wouldn't the state inspection check for them? My state doesn't check for that.

I've known folks to keep a car after the airbags deployed, but not get new ones installed. In other words, they were driving a car which should have had airbags but didn't. I've never heard of any of them being ticketed, etc.

Anybody know for sure?
#7
Old 09-27-2010, 01:04 AM
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I believe as far as the feds are concerned, you are required to keep whatever safety equipment came with the car in working condition. So in other words, it doesn't matter if airbags were optional for your car-- if you car was originally equipped with them you have to keep them working.

Now, like with most federal vehicle regulations, they rely on the mish-mash of state regulations to enforce them which means in most cases they don't get enforced. Probably the only way it'd be a problem is if your state does safety inspections.

Of course IANAL and who knows what kind of liability/insurance issues you'd be opening yourself up to if you hurt yourself or someone else driving a non-repaired crashed vehicle.
#8
Old 09-27-2010, 06:45 AM
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Thanks. Googling for it reveals a lot of message-board posts speculating all kinds of things. The insurance angle was mentioned more than once.

I found a news story about a rental agency which sold a bunch of Chevy Impalas without side air bags to a sales chain (the agency had ordered them without the bags), but it did not speak to that aspect of the question.
#9
Old 09-27-2010, 02:04 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Virginia
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It won't pass state inspection that way, so I might infer that it's technically illegal. But unless it's obvious I doubt you'd have any problem, even if pulled over for a traffic violation.
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