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Old 02-23-2011, 09:31 PM   #1
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Air bags - what's the lifespan ?

Was reading the other thread on mismatch airbag colors, then this question suddenly struck me....

What's the lifespan of an airbag ?? I've never had a older car with airbags, so never had to worry about this. Wouldn't want the airbag to fail on me when I need it !! My car will be 10 years old this year.

Replacing 4 pieces of airbags would probably be $$$$

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Old 02-24-2011, 03:42 AM   #2
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Here's something I just saw on the Wall Street Journal's web site:

"You have hit upon one of the biggest mysteries in the auto industry. With many airbag systems reaching the 10- to 20-year mark, many drivers are asking how long they can be expected to last. For now, the best you can do is have a mechanic check the system. Such checks can at least tell you the electronics are still working. The worry that the bags themselves could degrade with time seems less well founded because the material is packed tightly, away from light and other harmful elements. In 1992, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash-tested a 1972 Chevrolet Impala, and while the car's dashboard clock had stopped working, the airbags performed flawlessly."
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:12 PM   #3
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Like landmines they live a long time! The 11 year old one that came out of my car was like new.
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Old 02-24-2011, 01:11 PM   #4
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Its not likely that you will be able to visually see anything that might contribute to an older air bag not working. The key concerns are the reliability of the electronics and the actuator mechanism itself which are not readily visible.

From what I've read, many automakers seem to target a 15-year minimum design life, but I've never read much about what the actual lifespan is expected to be.

Automakers seem to be a bit mum on the subject.
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Last edited by thstone; 02-24-2011 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 02-24-2011, 03:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thstone
Its not likely that you will be able to visually see anything that might contribute to an older air bag not working. The key concerns are the reliability of the electronics and the actuator mechanism itself which are not readily visible.

From what I've read, many automakers seem to target a 15-year minimum design life, but I've never read much about what the actual lifespan is expected to be.

Automakers seem to be a bit mum on the subject.

Hmmm, good point, it's not just the airbags itself.

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