Jump to content

Old airbags in shonky old rammel: still safe?


Recommended Posts

I think about this fairly frequently. I'm basically driving a car with a bag of 15 year old explosives right in front of my face. Many of you in older shite than me with earlier airbags. Should we be worried about that? Do they have a 'use by' date? What do we do when it comes to 25, 30, 40 years old? Will they even trigger by that point?

I don't think I've seen this brought up on here, but I do tend to dip in and out of the forum a bit so might have missed it. Can't see anything obvious in the search.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Having first-hand experience of driving a 15 year old skoda felicia (with airbag) into the back of a Vauxhall insignia at moderate speed on the m27 in 2011, the airbag failed to deploy. I think the general consensus is that they DO have a BBE date, but no-one replaces them and certainly nowhere wants a pile of out-of-date airbags lying about so they get left in situ.

I think I heard/read somewhere that the default failure mode is that they don't trigger, rather than decide to go off randomly while you're sat in a queue at McDonalds drive-thru one day, showering the postcode with cold chips and impacting chicken nuggets through your forehead.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think they were originally designed with a 10 year lifespan but proved reliable. The decision was effectively made to not have them all replaced at 10 years as it would write the car off.

I've read all that info somewhere and know one of mine had it as a 10 year service item. (Think it was a 94 accord)

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, jonny69 said:

^ Are airbag units a standard fit box or specific to each car? I know they share connectors but that's about as far as I know.

I come from a generation where safety devices means actually having a seatbelt fitted to your car.

Potentially, I believe. Although the pin-outs are the same, the devices themselves will vary depending on the airbag manufacturer. Audi still reckons that the airbags in their 1990s cars still work so they issued a recall because the airbags fitted were made wrong and so will instead send shrapnel into your face... nasty stuff in a crash. My car's handbook says to get the airbag checked every 10 years at an approved mechanic, so I suppose the general consensus is that the airbag will last as long as the car's designed life, however it'll probably last much longer if it was made well enough.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In one of the books for the picasso it states they should be replaced after 15 years, in small writing too

it is something i do think about, i don't see why they wouldn't work

i have done a few lexia tests on the air bag system and it's passed them all so that gives me slight hope

I think if for example i had to frequently take loved ones places i would get them replaced regardless of cost

but in say 99% of cases they would perform the same as they were new

i also wonder about the seatbelt pertensioners and if they would work correctly when needed

Tbh it's more of a concern if the car has corrosion in the chassis and other areas which shouldn't crumple rather than airbags being a bit old

plus sitting correctly on the seat is the best thing you can do at all times

Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, jonny69 said:

^ Are airbag units a standard fit box or specific to each car? I know they share connectors but that's about as far as I know.

I come from a generation where safety devices means actually having a seatbelt fitted to your car.

Airbags are very specific. The shape, inflation rate and so on are all very carefully matched to the car. The inflator propellant charges as well as the bag.

The recall that finished off the Takata company concerned the propellant: it went to crumbs from being solid therefore burning too fast and bursting it's container making lethal shrapnel.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, maxxo said:

I think if for example i had to frequently take loved ones places i would get them replaced regardless of cost

Seriously though... new airbags even if you could obtain them would be absolutely prohibitive in cost, you’d be as well just buying a new car. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, sierraman said:

Seriously though... new airbags even if you could obtain them would be absolutely prohibitive in cost, you’d be as well just buying a new car. 

It's never about the money with a car you love, i'd love to get it done but i just don't think it's worth doing when the current ones properly work perfectly

especially as it's usually just me and as long as the wheel airbag deploys when needed i'm happy

Link to post
Share on other sites

@maxxoit would be interesting how much Citroën would charge to change the lot, all airbags, seat belt tensioner, possibly any modules.

I think it would have to be certified work not  diy.

I don't think you would get much change from £5k.

When I saw it as 10 years on that Honda I bought at 6 years old it worried me. I soon found a solution to that problem on a country road and flipped it front to back 3.5 times and skidded it on it's roof after having it 6 months. I can vouch that 6.5 year old Honda airbags work spot on at least.

Young and foolish at 20 years old.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I dare say i'm quite tempted to phone up and ask, i know full well it won't be cheap

if it was like £500 i'd do it, but no chance of that happening

I think the fact theres not much media attention on the subject, and an awful lot of pre 2010 cars still on the roads and getting in crashes does fill me with confidence

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Asimo said:

The recall that finished off the Takata company concerned the propellant: it went to crumbs from being solid therefore burning too fast and bursting it's container making lethal shrapnel.

You got a source for this? I did a fair amount of research on this when I last had a car with a recall letter, and all I could find stated the aluminium casing degraded in heat and humidity so the explosive was no longer properly directed, and instead the casing became shrapnel.

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, loserone said:

You got a source for this? I did a fair amount of research on this when I last had a car with a recall letter, and all I could find stated the aluminium casing degraded in heat and humidity so the explosive was no longer properly directed, and instead the casing became shrapnel.

https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/car-news/108316/exclusive-explosive-scale-of-takata-airbag-scandal

Link to post
Share on other sites

Surely if random air bag deployment or failure was a problem on old cars, don't you think we'd all know about it by now? Keep on driving, and don't worry about it.

The oldest air bag in my fleet is 20 this year. Last year my mother wrote off a 25 year old Vauxhall Corsa, and I can tell you that both front seatbelt pre-tensioners worked as they should (no air bag fitted).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Once a model goes out of production I would imagine that the production line for its airbags would shut down very soon after ,once there was a reasonable stock of spares.So if you have new airbags fitted to a 15 year old car you will probably find that they were produced many years previously,which  makes a replacement a bit pointless.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've considered this occasionally too. With more modern cars having side impact air bags etc in the seats or body I'd expect it to be time consming and costly to replace them all.

I don't really hang on to cars long enough to justify spending four figure sums on them, so I try and stay on top of servicing and ensure brakes, tyres, suspension and steering components are all good and hope that unseen safety features like airbags etc work should I ever need them.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, artdjones said:

Once a model goes out of production I would imagine that the production line for its airbags would shut down very soon after ,once there was a reasonable stock of spares.So if you have new airbags fitted to a 15 year old car you will probably find that they were produced many years previously,which  makes a replacement a bit pointless.

Not the case, I had a recall on my 51 plate 3 series in 2018 for both driver and passenger bags. Got a voucher for a meal at the local pub as they didn’t have a courtesy car spare which was very nice, and a free valet.

Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, maxxo said:

It's never about the money with a car you love, i'd love to get it done but i just don't think it's worth doing when the current ones properly work perfectly

especially as it's usually just me and as long as the wheel airbag deploys when needed i'm happy

I get you like the car but money does come in to it at some point. Where do you end with that thought? A complete £10,000 restoration on a 15 year old car to make it as new? Like @Split_Pin said what about the brake pipes, what about the parts of the monocoque you can’t see? 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought design obsolescence with cars was about 10 years anyway - so its more likely that a failed fuel pump or ECU will render the car FUBAR before the air bags do.

I did get a recall on the Almera (54 plate ) in 2016 for an airbag issue ( something about sending shards of metal into your face) but I dont think I would be too surprised if the ones in the DisAstra failed to detonate in a crash given its now 19 years old.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps phone up your local manufacturer.  

I once didn't apply for a job here.  My cv has responsible for clio air bag connector assembly line.

So I guess it was picked up as a keyword. 

Airbags International
Viking Way, Congleton CW12 1LJ
01260 294300
https://goo.gl/maps/5UfmTwCKETxXE61e6

Screenshot_20200905-105827_Maps.thumb.jpg.fdf858b30ec399ee64965f78bacf61b6.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

As has been said, certainly in 90s and early 2000s stuff I’ve had had either something in the service book saying replacement or a sort of Expiry sticker in the door jamb on the airbag 

You’d really need to take a look at higher value stuff that stays in the dealer network For years or at a specialists to see what happens on a manufacturer Sanctioned by the book (and probably slightly ott in some areas) service schedule on stuff 10-15-20 years old.

Ive not ever heard even in those bubbles of wholesale replacement of SRS stuff, not even 90s Ferraris that are classiche certified.

6B3A335F-502D-4DCA-92BB-957EE18BFEBD.thumb.png.69f420a29da796c3f2aeef02e8ac3f28.png
6B0E452F-FBC0-4A96-B125-46E17B6AD3E3.thumb.png.f9b83687f6ee6f5d9919476eb1a5ef68.png
 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...