According to the NHTSA, airbags helped save more than 50,000 lives from 1987 to 2017. This makes them, without a doubt, the single-most-important car safety feature. However, this level of notoriety does make them pricey to replace. How much does it cost to replace airbags in a car?
There are a lot of things that influence the cost of airbag replacement.
- Where you source the parts
- The number of hours required to complete the job
- The number of airbags affected And Which Ones
- The number of components involved
To simplify things, let’s look at a 2012 Honda Civic that needs a single driver-side front airbag. No extra parts or pieces are required – just the airbag module itself. All said and done, including labor, you’ll likely spend between $650-$750.
That’s basically a best-case scenario. Can you imagine if you were in a car accident and several airbags inflated? In this case, you’re looking at an airbag replacement cost of as high as $5,000.
Thankfully, in this article, we’re going to examine airbag replacement costs a little more closely. Let’s start by reviewing what airbags are and how they function. Then, we’ll look at a few factors that influence the cost to replace them.
Car Airbags – What They Are And How They Work
We’ve all seen how an airbag looks once deflated, whether in-person or in photos or videos. But what actually happens behind the scenes?
Your airbag system contains a handful of different sensors, each designed to detect if a collision has occurred. If one has, it ignites a tiny chemical explosion that releases a large amount of non-toxic gas into a nylon bag – the airbag.
Once the passenger makes contact with the airbag, it then immediately deflates so that it doesn’t cause them injury.
Sadly, once an airbag deploys, it doesn’t have much use – meaning if yours has, then there’s no other option than to have it replaced.
Now let’s take a look at a few things that affect whether the cost to replace an airbag is high – or super high.
Factors That Influence The Cost Of Airbag Replacement
Where You Buy The Parts
Just like how the price of gas varies from one station to the next, so too does an airbag. Sadly, though, the quality often does as well.
Some options include buying one from a junkyard, buying one online, or buying an OEM one straight from the factory.
Just know that most mechanics praise the use of OEM products not only due to their quality and reliability but the warranty they carry as well. The flipside, though, is that they do often cost a bit more.
How Long The Replacement Takes
One thing to know about airbag replacement is that it requires someone who’s experienced to perform. This means that if a shop offers it as a service, they will likely put their top technician on it, which usually adds to the cost.
Typically, an airbag replacement will take 1-2 hours, though, it also depends on the car you own. If the shop charges $100 per hour, the math is pretty simple. Just don’t forget the diagnostic fee, which usually sits at around $100.
The Number Of Airbags Affected
Clearly, the more airbags that deploy, the higher your shop bill will be. However, it’s not just the number of airbags that affect the price, it’s also about which type of airbags they are.
These include the following:
- Driver and passenger airbags (which, if you didn’t know, vary a lot in price)
- Knee airbags (if equipped)
- Inflatable seatbelt airbags
- Side-impact airbags for each row
As an example, the passenger airbag often costs an additional $300-$500 compared to the driver side. The same is also true between each of the above types of car airbags.
Which Parts Are Involved
Most of us have zero ideas of what rests behind an airbag, but there are actually quite a few components that make up this system.
These include the following:
- Airbag module
- SRS unit and indicator light
- Cable reel
- Fuse/relay box
- Seat belt tensioner
Clearly, the more of these parts that are listed on your repair bill, the higher it will be. Keep in mind that many of these are replaced together after an accident, no matter how minor it may be.
There’s also residual damage to think about. This is often the case with driver or passenger airbags after they break through the steering wheel or dash. Some models feature airbag cutouts, which cost less when compared to those that don’t.
Airbag Replacement Costs – The Simple Truth
The last thing that factors into the cost of airbag replacement is the make and model of your car. If you’re wondering how much does it cost to replace airbags, this is one of the most influential contributors.
One reason is that some models sell better than others, meaning there are more of them on the road. In most cases, if you take an average, non-luxury sedan that has been well-received, you’ll find the parts for them at a lower price – including an airbag.
However, on average, and taking into account all of the above, an airbag replacement will cost anywhere from $1,000 to $1750.
Is It Possible To Replace An Airbag Yourself?
This is one of those questions that if you’re asking it, you probably already know the answer.
The truth of the matter is that we’re all for DIY projects here at AutoChimps– but – replacing an airbag yourself at home is one we don’t suggest.
Why? Because it’s a pretty complicated job to do, and the last thing you want is to tinker with such an important car safety feature.