How to Repair Blown Airbags


Airbags are an important addition to a car because they provide more safety in case of an accident as they deploy on impact. An airbag control module located inside the car instantly activates the airbags when a crash happens. In case an airbag deploys without the car being involved in a crash, there the possibility to fix it and reset the airbag module.

The first thing you have to do is gather the tools required to diagnose and repair both the blown airbag and the airbag control module. You need an airbag control module scanner tool and a code reader that can be bought from any auto parts stores. The scanner tool offers data about the operational state of the vehicle, for example loop status, coolant temperature, throttle position and airflow. A code reader reads and clears fault codes that appear in your car`s computer.

You have to find the airbag control module. This can be placed in various locations inside the car: behind the steering column, in the kick panel, under the driver or passenger seat, or under the center console. After you identify the module, connect it to the scanner tool throughout the scanner cable. The scanner tool enters the control module memory and shows the computer codes correspondent to the car`s airbag module.

Examine carefully the series of computer codes indicated on the control module and the diagnostic scan tool. Search the displayed fault and error code number in a standard airbag code DTC (Diagnostic Trouble Codes) reference chart. This will provide diagnostic information regarding the errors found in your vehicle, helping you choose the right approach in repairing the blown airbag. Do not forget to check the airbag light bulb too.

The next step is fixing and re-programming the airbag control module. The blown control module parts must also be ordered and replaced. The reset process of fault and error codes on the car`s airbag control module resembles a lot with the one of a computer`s hard drive.

After the re-programming, non-deployed airbags must be tested to make sure they will become active in a crash. Enter the car, turn the key and observe the airbag light on the dash. In case airbags are working right, the airbag light should be on for seven to ten seconds and then go off. If airbag light comes on while driving, something is wrong.

If you decide to install new airbags, take some safety precautions. Put on rubber gloves to prevent static electricity, disconnect the battery and cover the connectors with masking tape. Generally, an airbag is installed by just plugging in and bolting it.

Airbags can lead to severe injuries when not installed accurately. If you are not familiar with airbag installing, the best solution is to take your car to an auto repair shop and let the job be done by professionals.