Car airbags have a strange life. They spend most of their life hidden until our lives depend on them. Within a few seconds, they spring into action, fulfilling their destiny. That is where their life ends.
However, not all airbags have to be utilized. In most vehicles, airbags wouldn’t even see the light of day. You would wonder, “Do airbags really stand the test of time?” No matter how much you care for a vehicle, its parts will eventually break down. Is the same true for airbags? Well, in this article, we will answer your questions.
Do Airbags Expire?
In general, most airbags do not wear out and they do not need replacement. They will stay intact throughout the life of your vehicle. This also means that when you look for a used Toyota HiAce van for sale, you will learn that most options still come with airbags.
Car manufacturers used to place labels in vehicles, recommending that the owner should replace the airbags after 10 to 15 years. However, that’s no longer the case for modern vehicles. Much like other important parts, airbags can last the life of the vehicle. Like door latches and large powertrain components, airbags do not have expiration dates.
How Does This Happen?
An airbag stays dormant for years and even decades. So, how is it possible that it can stay intact for so long? Well, these days, car airbags have design features which use the most robust technology, enabling them to stay in good condition for as long as possible. Moreover, it is rare for an airbag igniter to fail. So, you can rest easy knowing that you have an airbag to protect you in the event of a collision.
Knowing if There’s Something Wrong with your Airbags
One of the great things about modern vehicles is that they are equipped with self-diagnostic systems. Also referred to as the ‘SRS’, this feature automatically scans the vehicle’s safety systems as soon as the engine is started. Whenever you start your car, the SRS runs a diagnostic of airbag function. Typically, you will see the SRS diagnostic light up, and it will shut off soon after it completes its analysis. If you notice that it doesn’t seem to shut off, this is an indication that there is a problem with your vehicle. At this point, it is best to have your vehicle checked out.
Important Factors to Remember
While we’ve mentioned that most vehicles have airbags that do not need replacement, there are some exceptions to the general fact. For instance, if you are searching for a used Toyota HiAce van for sale that dates back to the mid-1990s and earlier, you have to acknowledge that its airbags might need replacement.
Materials used in the airbag igniter of older vehicles are different from what modern cars have. This is also the reason why manufacturers recommended replacement after a decade or so. Unfortunately, the replacement can be quite expensive. If safety is your priority, it would be better if you choose a newer used vehicle.
On the other hand, if you are planning to replace the airbags in your car, you should only use an original equipment unit which can be purchased from a new-car dealership. Experts say that you cannot rely on ‘aftermarket’ airbags sold by third-party suppliers. After all, some automotive recyclers simply retrieve never-deployed airbags from scrapped vehicles. They sell them as replacement parts to auto body repair shops. This is a legal practice, but it can be very dangerous.
However, in general, if you have a relatively new vehicle, you can trust that your airbag will keep you protected for the miles to come.