Your “Safety” Doesn’t Matter . . .

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A reader asked me about dealing with the known-to-be-dangerous – the defective – air bag in her vehicle. Since there are more than 40 million vehicles “affected,” her questions – and my answer – may be of general interest:

Pris asks: There’s an airbag recall for my 2005 Corolla. A truck I bought in the late ’90s was easy to “fix” – open the fuse panel; AIRBAG was fuse #18; pull it out; done. When I bought the Corolla the fuse box wasn’t obvious, so disabling the airbags was forgotten until Toyota started sending notices about the recall.  Last week I found both fuse boxes, but AIRBAG isn’t one of the labels; ABS is as close as it gets, but those are for the brake system, yes? Is there a fuse for the airbags? If it is relatively quick I prefer to remove the things completely, or at least the inflater part. Whatever, apparently these airbags are dangerous well beyond the usual damage they cause to your face and neck; I need to disable them one way or another, and I don’t think Toyota will do that for me.  😀

My reply: I agree with you about the bags, as you probably already know!

These “safety” devices can in fact (not opinion) be very dangerous. Lethal, even. And not just the “defective” ones. The ones that work perfectly can break bones, detach retinas and worse. More people have been badly hurt – and killed – by exploding air bags than by exploding Pintos much less VW diesels – which haven’t harmed anyone. But the government crucified VW  and the company had to stop selling the “affected” cars entirely.

And as the car ages, the chances of something going wrong increase because air bags and all the associated components age (and wear) over time, too. The bag might not work at all. Or it might “work” when it shouldn’t – like when you’re driving down the road at 70 and it just goes off. This has actually happened and more than once.

With pre air-bag-equipped cars, you never had to worry about any of the above – even if the car was 20 or more years old.

Granted, air bags can and do “save lives.” But given that they can also take them, given that there are other costs associated with them – including replacement costs so high as to make an otherwise sound older car economically unrepairable in the event of a crash – I think it’s outrageous that we’re forced to buy them and not allowed to disable them. I italicize that word to emphasize the point. Who are these people – in government, I mean – to force on us potentially (and often actually) dangerous anything?

I would have no issue with air bags if they were simply made available to people who freely chose to buy them – like lawn darts (for those who remember). But the mandates sticks in my craw for the same reason that forcing people to buy lawn darts would.

Okay, back to your question!

First thing: While I am all for disabling the bag – it’s your vehicle and it’s certainly your life to “risk” (as Clovers style it) be aware that it’s illegal – yes, really – and that if you do so and they notice you’ve done so (via the “SRS” or “air bag” light coming on and staying on or not coming on at all) when you take your car in for saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety inspection – they’ll fail it.

Doesn’t matter that the car is safe.

In the sense that there is nothing mechanically unsound that would increase the chances your losing control and wrecking – such as bad brakes or bald tires.

The air bags are part of the government-mandated suite of factory-installed saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety equipment and must by law be intact and operating. In states that have saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety inspections, a car that doesn’t pass cannot get or renew registration and so is not legal to drive. Without valid and up to date registration, you are vulnerable to being hut! hut! hutted! by an armed government worker – even more dangerous than air bags!

So, if you live in a state that requires saaaaaaaaaaafety inspections, you’re stuck – unless you can rig it so that the “SRS” or “air bag” light illuminates when the car is first started and then goes out after start-up.

The inspector will check for the light.

Second: Leaving aside the above, the air bag in your car may be on a circuit with other accessories and probably is – to thwart what you want to do. Cutting power to the air bag by pulling a fuse may cut power to other things, in other words.

The sort-of good news is that – as you already know – your car is covered under the Takata recall (see here). Toyota – your dealership – will replace the bag(s) in your car with new ones, no less dangerous but at least not defective, at no cost to you.


Something like 40 million cars are “affected” – and it is going to take probably ten years to recall and fix them all. In the meanwhile, people who own these cars are forced by the same government which mandated these saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety devices to drive around in cars known to be very unsafe. These bags can – and have – “deployed” in the same manner as the Claymore mines that take off soldiers’ legs in wartime. They spew shrapnel at high velocity in random directions.

And you’ve got one pointing right at your face. Which the government – the same government which preens so unctuously about saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety – has refused owners permission – the effrontery! – to disable, even temporarily.

In cars where there’s no fuse to pull, it would be necessary to install a switch to cut the airbag(s) out of the loop.

But the government – so very concerned about your saaaaaaaaaaaafety – will not permit this. Your Toyota dealer would be in deep trouble if it did anything to “defeat” the air bags – notwithstanding the fact that they are known to be both defective and dangerous.

Takata – which made the defective bags an supplied them to the manufacturers of all those millions of vehicles – has been sued into ruin, as it deserved to be.

But what about Uncle?

The government – which forced these in-car Claymores on the public and now refuses to allow the public to even temporarily disable them, effectively forcing the owners of these defective and dangerous vehicles to continue risking their lives?

But you can’t sue Uncle – he’s got sovereign immunity.

Too bad the victims of air bags – past and future – don’t enjoy the same privilege.

. . .

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  1. So I got a repair manual and there are no wiring diagrams for the airbag system, and less than a page discussing it. But there *is* a short section titled DISARMING THE SYSTEM AND OTHER PRECAUTIONS and it says, “Whenever working in the vicinity of the steering wheel … the system must be disarmed. To disarm the system: …” They describe both how to completely remove the airbags as well as how to just disarm them if you were going to do some welding on the car. Woohoo! I’ll disarm it this weekend and completely remove the things as soon as time permits.

    For those interested, it is a Haynes manual and I am really impressed with how clear and thorough it is, lotsa pics with arrows too.

  2. I have a concern with my youngest daughter. She is about 4 foot nothing tall, and has to sit very close to the steering wheel of our Nissan Maxima. What I have planned to do is very simple. Remove the fuse for the airbag system. Install wire leads to each leg of the fuse circuit. Add an inline fuse and a switch. Mount the switch, unlabeled, onto the dashboard. Then she can turn the airbag off & on at will.

  3. Gee, why doesn’t the government just mandate “safety guns” to be installed inside of the headrests already? That way, you won’t have to feel any pain or suffering from the accident, even if it’s just a slight “fender-bender”. lol

    BTW, I’m new here, but after reading through your articles for awhile, I figured it was about time for me to start putting in my “two-cents” as well. More people need to see this kind of stuff and realize that “Uncle Sam” is definitely NOT on our side! Keep up the good work Mr. Peters, and I will be looking forward to any new articles that you post. ?

    • Hi Bluegrey!

      It took me along time to realize, to fully grok, that this stuff is only superficially about saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety. The lower drones in the apparat may actually believe it is, too. But I came to understand that a common thread runs through it all, which explains the real motive: Control. The object of the exercise is to control us. Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety is the excuse.

      Thanks for the kind words – and glad you’ve surfaced to post! I’m betting you’ll find the latest rant – about “shared responsibility” – of interest as well!

      • Hey, no probs! I gotta admit, when first I came across this site a couple of years ago, I had no clue about “libertarian politics” or even what the whole “anti-cloverleaf” symbol meant. It wasn’t until I saw one of your articles on ZeroHedge titled “Why The Hard-Sell For The “Self-Driving” Car?” that I realized you and I are pretty much on the same page. Needless to say, I’ve been hooked ever since.

  4. On site contracting for Kinder-Morgan a few years back our office girl took a crew truck to drive to Edmonton. Got a call that she had hit a deer and was being taken to hospital.

    We all wondered why as the bullbars on the front of the truck should have basically liquified the deer. Figured she must have freaked at the impact and driven off the road.

    Nope. One shattered headlight and an antler scratch on the hood. Inside, different story. Steering wheel and curtain bags went off breaking her nose. She was off for two weeks and was complaining of hearing issues.

    Truck was still out of service when I left. If the airbags had not fired, she would not have been injured, she would have completed her journey, would have been able to work and the truck would still be in service.

    Rough guess, a $200 headlight replacement became about $15,000 company cost because the airbags fired unnecessarily.

    • Hi Cold,

      Yup. I could relate multiple similar stories (several friends own car-repair shops). The part that annoys me most is the effrontery of this risk (and expense) being imposed on us by these arrogant busybodies, who – in my opinion – verge on the sociopathic given their utter contempt for the free will choices of other human beings, for our right (unless we are their property) to weigh risk and benefit for ourselves.

      How dare they force us to pay for air bags – both in terms of dollars and cents and what they can do to our bodies? But air bags are – on balance – saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe? So is a “fit” BMI. Are we going to be forced to exercise and eat right every day, too?

      God damn these people. The control freaks and busybodies. A ditch large enough to hold them all, filled with kerosene. A Zippo lighter.

      I, too, have a dream…

      • I used to be in the autobody repair business and would buy salvage vehicles to resell, and it was verbotten to replace the airbags with perfectly good used claymores from the salvage yard. I can put them in my personal vehicles that I buy as salvage, but could not if I planned to sell them. This was years ago and I don’t know if the laws have been changed, but used bags would save a lot of cash.

        I always figured there was an airbag manufacturers lobby behind this.

  5. @ MikePizzo and muggles: Disagree all you want about airbags, properly working or not, four of us walked away from hitting a telephone pole at 70 mph, the people I’ve seen who were hit by airbags went to the hospital. Read shnarkle’s first paragraph.

    @ muggles: Fortunately the government hasn’t yet fully succeeded in decimating the Free Speech part of the Constitution and you are still allowed to share your opinion. That was a long post, some of it is very Blue Pill, which I agree is the vast majority of public opinion, but I appreciate your taking the time to share even tho you figured you’d get a roasting. “Most of the public would (and does) approve of their mandatory usage. All hail democracy…” Since we didn’t vote for airbags it isn’t a democratic decision, “all heil democracy” is appropriate, well-explained in this recent news essay about the increasing use of the word “democracy”

    To keep it short(er) I won’t refer to specific points in your comment. I used to drive a LOT and have had over one million miles of pavement pass under my butt. Even with all those miles my last at-fault accident was 1994, my last ticket in the ’80s: I am an experienced, careful driver. And I detest cars. They are expensive, fattening, pollute the air, require and waste exorbitant amounts of personal and public resources, financial, environmental and otherwise.

    Of all the places I’ve lived in the US there were only two where I didn’t HAVE to own a car. One of them my car often had a dead battery from non-use, the other I didn’t have a car at all. Most places in the US a car isn’t optional tho, such as where I am now – there are no bike lanes, no sidewalks, no bus system. I drive the 2.5 miles to the gym because it would be suicidal to ride my bike, that’s just too damn ridiculous.

    Although I still wouldn’t approve (Eric’s reply to you explains it well) I’d be a lot more ok with the mandated airbags if there were transportation options. Or maybe The Government could make it safe to bicycle by banning all distractions in cars such as cell phones and other entertainment systems, and only allowing polite, healthy, attentive people who do not take drugs to drive cars …. THERE’s a safety mandate I’ll support. But it isn’t about safety, it is about control, exquisitely explained here:

    My health care plan is Eat Right and Exercise, but since most of the public approves of and does eat toxic processed industrial products, and have endless health problems including cancer and obesity because of it (very profitable for the insurance and pharmaceutical companies) it is extremely difficult to purchase a balanced diet of organic food – I am forced to DRIVE several hundred miles each month just to buy unprocessed, chemical-free groceries. And I do that amongst unhealthy, distracted people, over half on prescription drugs, with a “Claymore” pointed at my face. If that airbag goes off it WILL hurt me badly, and I assume the police will tazer me for refusing medical attention. Then there’s the part it will be a struggle to pay for new glasses plus I can’t afford another car.

    There isn’t a single person on this planet who truly cares if I live or die, much less the government, I take full responsibility for my health, safety, and other decisions, including “illegally” removing airbags on MY car. Remember the bumper sticker, “When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns”, followed by “When bongs are outlawed only outlaws will have bongs”? When safety is outlawed, as it has been, only outlaws will be safe. Please join us.

    • Pris, Can you tell us more about when the four of you walked away after hitting the telephone pole at 70mph? Were you all “thrown safely clear……,” or what? 🙂

      • Your request was a head scratcher until I realized/remembered that unhealthy people are fragile, which is most Americans today. Actually I didn’t walk away – since my parents had forbidden me from hanging out with the girl who was driving (go figure :-D) I ran away and hitchhiked home.

        We had horses and never thought twice about stacking 3-wire bales of hay (16 bales/ton) four high, and carried 100 lb sacks of oats from the driveway to the barn. We rodeoed and getting bucked off, kicked and stepped on was a way of life; that crash was comparable to what horses have done to any of us. We were strong and tough and couldn’t care less about the bruises – we were devastated there was no more truck to pull the horse trailer.

        People were much healthier before the ’70s, Produce was the largest section of grocery stores, the little bit of processed food that was showing up was made out of FOOD and sold in unbleached waxed paper bags, milk was unhomogonized and sold in glass bottles (mom bought raw milk, which The Government has since made illegal for our saaaaafety :-p), factory-farmed animals were non-existent…. School playgrounds were filled with “dangerous” equipment, and after school kids climbed trees, rode bikes in the street and played contact sports. Being fat was a stigma and obesity was nonexistent.

        TV, chemicals, plastic, corn (made possible by the ability to fix nitrogen), and lawyers ended those days. Now “food” isn’t, playgrounds are designed for children’s saaaaafety (I’m helping Eric :-D), after school kids are babysat by TV and video games, and if you let them play unsupervised or build a tree house you can be arrested and your kids confiscated for endangering their lives. The US has become a nation of people who call 911 for hangnails and headaches – there is a prescription drug for everything! Yeah, that crash could *really* injure or kill most Americans today, same as horses and airbags.

    • Pris, I was in a head on collision three years ago. The airbag blew, but my seat was all the way back, so I only got my glasses rammed into my face and a big cut on my forehead. I nearly lost my left arm, multiple compound fractures, bones out above and below the elbow, elbow destroyed. I’m wondering now whether the airbag put my left arm in harm’s way.

      Three years later I still have a purple line across my upper chest from the seat belt, as well as a big lump from the broken collarbone. Both of those were from the seat belt, but the real reminder that I keep on my desk here is the mangled glasses I was wearing. The airbag is the likely culprit there.

      • Gosh,that’s awful! Seat belts can and do hurt you, but steering wheels can knock out your teeth and break your nose. IMO seat belts are a good invention and (as a driver) I would continue to always wear mine regardless of The Law.

  6. “The government – which forced these in-car Claymores on the public and now refuses to allow the public to even temporarily disable them, effectively forcing the owners of these defective and dangerous vehicles to continue risking their lives?”

    Although we strongly disagree about the “desirability” of airbags when properly working, your comment brilliantly illustrates the counter-productive….oxymoronic….results of so many fedgov actions to “help” us.

  7. A few (probably unpopular here) points about this subject:
    — Airbags undoubtedly save far more lives and prevent serious injuries than they accidentally might cause. I don’t think this fact is in question. Same for seat belts and probably other safety features.
    — Most of the public would (and does) approve of their mandatory usage. All hail democracy…
    — Why aren’t these voluntary (or can be uninstalled w/o penalty)? Because of the legal system.
    — Car makers are routinely sued whenever a bad accident happens which “could” possibly involve manufacturing failures, design flaws, etc. Juries are usually very sympathetic to “victims” of accidents. Therefore car makers don’t want you to remove any of these features. So they make it illegal. So there is no legal haggling about whether or not you removed those features. If you did so, car makers are largely off the hook. They would rather deal with the few claims about accidental damage from airbags than with claims about what “they,” the risk taking car owner, did or didn’t intentionally remove/disable prior to their accident. And because it is “mandatory” that these are installed and not removed, the trial lawyers can’t claim car makers are somehow at fault if these don’t work as intended.
    — The same idiot “clovers” you see on the roads are the same folks on tort damage juries. So deep pockets are automatically guilty. Risk takers like Eric & Co. here can’t simply post liability waivers online to absolve manufacturers if they are hurt in crashes and had deliberately removed safety features. The law ignores that. Car makers prefer the mandatory rules because it saves them money. You would too, if you made huge dangerous machines driven daily by low IQ people (a large percent) who will blame you if you don’t treat them like children and protect them from their poor decisions.
    — Very few people would choose to remove airbags today. But we don’t live in a society that makes that decision solely a personal choice. Everywhere, nearly everyone blames others for their bad decisions. After all drug addiction is a “disease” though you can live with an addict and never “catch” that “disease” yourself. So many drugs are illegal and airbags mandatory. . Sad but true.

    • Hi Muggles,

      Several ripostes:

      First, this business of other people presuming to weigh risk on my behalf but without my consent is obnoxious in the extreme; it’s perhaps the worst sort of tyranny there is… the “for your own good kind” that C.S. Lewis spoke of.

      Second, if the public/democracy approves, then why the mandate? Let’s get rid of the mandate and see just how many people freely choose to pay for six air bags in their next new car… and let’s see how many woyld choose to buy a simple car without any air bags at all.

      Three, this “litigation standard” is vile and dangerous because this same standard could be used to force-feed so many other vile and dangerous things to us. For example, mandatory gun insurance.

      At the end of the day, I don’t give a flip what other people do, so long as what they are doing isn’t an attempt to control me or stick their hands in my pockets…

      • Eric, I agree with your points. Unfortunately unless or until the public changes the legal standards major car manufacturers are judged upon, mandatory “safety” will be the rule. Big Brother (or Big Mother, perhaps more apt) rules since juries and judges can freely assume that if you provide goods/services to the public, you must treat them all like six year olds. Idiotic warnings are everywhere.
        This rule of course doesn’t apply to governments. The same legal system tells us that they can’t be sued (usually) for the same things everyone else is potentially liable for. Sad but true.

        • muggles, re: ” Idiotic warnings are everywhere. ” Years ago I had to make my way through a quite large US postal distribution plant. It reminded me of some off the wall amusement park ride with all of these packages moving all over the place inside this three or four story warehouse.

          There were signs EVERYWHERE, and a white line with yet more signs everywhere that I was supposed to walk on to get to the office which was buried deep in the bowels of this place. When I finally found this office, I entered to discover a man behind the counter at his desk with a colored marker in one hand and a ruler in the other. He had some piece of corrugated plastic sitting on his desk with these block letters on it. He was making yet another sign, and coloring in the letters like some kid with his kindergarten art project. I waited a good five minutes before he finally decided that he could take a break from his duties to find out why I was there.

          The sheer number of signs was more than enough for me to just ignore them after attempting to read the first three or four. Each sign was an instruction, a warning, a code, or regulation, etc.

          These signs remind me of law enforcement officers who request that the alphabet be recited in reverse order just to see if john q public is drunk enough to make the attempt. Only an idiot would make the attempt to read all of these signs.

    • Muggles, your points are well taken, but this only spotlights that we live in a litigious society. It reminds me of something I’ve probably shared here already, but is worth repeating. Down in Mexico, if you stumble and fall because the sidewalk looks like it is a quarry of scattered boulders, there is no point in bothering to sue the city because they simply don’t have the money. It really doesn’t matter what the reason because they simply ignore anyone who thinks that they can bring a lawsuit against the city or a store owner, etc. You tripped and broke your ankle? That’s your fault. You removed the air bags from your car? That’s your fault. Capital flight is, and has been endemic for decades here so we’re not all that far behind Mexico. Here again, if people would simply take all of their assets and stuff them into a holding company and/or wrap that up into an international trust, the lawyers would be reduced to helping people stuff their assets into LLC’s and international trusts. They would inevitably make themselves redundant. A lawyer isn’t even necessary. The forms are stupid simple.

  8. Wow, reading all this as a 71-year-old lady with a 2008 Honda Pilot makes me want to get rid of the airbags too. Mine has been recalled twice to fix the “problem” whatever that was. Even though I’m totally ignorant about cars I really admire all the menfolk out there who are really car savvy. Too bad we can’t just have good stable cars without any “safety bombs” included and laws forcing us to use them. Thanks everyone for all the great comments.

  9. When you look at the statistics for injuries or deaths caused by air bag deployment, it only covers low or no impact scenarios. They don’t include high impact crashes because they just assume that the injuries or fatalities were due to the high impact; not the air bags. How convenient for the air bag companies.

    I bought a car back in 2014 that has an online club that consists mostly of car buffs doing all sorts of modifications to their rides. One that I found quite interesting was removing the steering wheel and replacing it with one of those “quick release” racing wheels. These things don’t have air bags in them, and apparently these guys have never had any law enforcement thugs cite them for tampering with their steering wheel air bag deployment systems. To hear these guys describe it seems like child’s play. They talk about disengaging the “tripped codes” so the lights don’t come on. They do this for all of their modifications. They tear out their exhaust system and remove the catalytic converters along with the sensors, and are somehow able to trick the computer safety systems into believing that nothing is amiss.

    Those air bag deployment systems have a ten year life span and are supposed to be checked periodically. My suspicion is that eventually they will have to be replaced which of course is going to cost more than the car is worth. My car isn’t worth more than $10k, and I’ve got at least four air bags. At $2,500.00 a piece, that’s $10k just for the bags themselves.

    If you remove the air bags and are in an accident where you can drive your car away, you are at an advantage over those who have air bags deployed in that you don’t have to get new air bags in order to continue driving your car. I live in a state where there are no inspections required so if I were considering keeping my car for another five to ten years, I’d probably remove the air bags

  10. I’ve been thinking about airbags lately too. Seems like there’s really no safe way to posture oneself with them installed, in an accident you’re either gonna take a blow to the face, or hurt your arms/hands if you’re quick enough at blocking it.. moved my seat back a little when I thought about it. Just leaves you feeling helpless, if/when it happens, only thing you can count on is it’s not gonna feel good.

    • Don’t hook your fingers around the steering wheel, lots of people do that with their thumbs, so if the damn thing goes off, it won’t break them. Sit as far back as you can, so the seatbelt can do as much work as it can. The pretensioner is pretty powerful, and will slam you into the seat and you’ll get a lot less airbag to the face.

      It’s unfortunate that I know these things, but I’ve coached some real idiots at HPDE events, and I’ve enjoyed the wonders of airbags firsthand a couple of times. Granted, I was wearing a full fire suit and full face helmet, so no major wounds other than massive seatbelt bruises – hit a wall at 60 mph and you’ve got the seatbelt shaped bruise on you for a couple of weeks, and some majorly sore ribs, but you’re alive at least.

      • Thanks for the tips, that sounds wild! I’m careful not to hold the wheel that way, but I’m always changing the position when getting ready to maneuver around clovers, keeping control of the car without the crazy 10-and-2 death grip.

    • Hi Moose,

      Yup. This is why my ’02 pick-up will be my last “modern” vehicle. Whatever comes next, it will be pre-1990s and probably pre-1980s. No air bags. No computers or EDRs.

      I took the Orange Barchetta out last night. It is such a contrast to anything modern – in a good way. Not even a seatbelt buzzer. I am not lectured to “look for safety” by an LCD screen because there is no LCD screen. The steering wheel is an extremely cool-looking Formula steering wheel, unique to Pontiacs and unlike any other car’s steering wheel because it hasn’t got a got-damned airbag. The radio, if I had it on, doesn’t turn itself off or to inaudible when I reverse – for saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety – as happens in modern cars.

      If I floor it, the tires spin. There is no traction control. I am in control.

      • I’m with you Eric, I’ve been driving the ’71 Chevy pickup this summer and loving every minute of it. From pulling out the manual choke to start it to hearing the secondaries on the Quadrajet open up when I let the horses run. There is nothing on the truck I can’t diagnose and fix myself with basic hand tools, and if the need arises I can pull out the 350 V8 in a few hours with a cherry picker and rebuild it in short order, for not a lot of money. I’ve built so many old school Chevy V8s I could practically do it blindfolded.

        I’ve always thought I was born 30 years too late, but I’m glad I came of age during the late ’70s when things were simpler and there was more freedom.

        • Ditto, Guerrero!

          I also grew up just in time to experience a relatively free country – which is why the current state of things is so halting and depressing. Have you ever seen the ’70s dystopian movie, Logan’s Run? It depicts a controlled future society that’s hermetically sealed in terrarium cities. A “sandman” – basically,a futuristic armed government worker – decides to escape, along with his very hot girlfriend. They flee and eventually find themselves in the ruins of what was Washington, DC – where they encounter an old man living alone among his books. He tells them of the world which used to exist… I feel I’ll be that old man someday.

    • Moose, take a look at some of the videos online showing people sitting on air bags as they deploy. They almost always end up in pain. When those things cause that much pain to your backside, I don’t even want to think what kind of pain and damage they can do to one’s face.

  11. Eric, that 2000 Chevy C3500 truck I mentioned in an earlier post has no airbags! It is considered a heavy Duty vehicle and 2000 was the last year the factory did not install airbags, EGR system, Air pump and two other pollution systems. I will never get rid of this truck unless it gets totaled or falls apart.

    • Cederq,

      I say the same thing about the 2002 F-250 Powerstroke I bought from my Dad last year when he got too old to drive. Like new condition with the 7.3 turbo diesel without the pollution control systems mandated in 2007. It does have the basic airbags, but I can’t ever see myself owning a diesel that I have to use DEF.

  12. Thanks everyone for your comments. I’ve been in three car accidents, two at low speeds as a driver, one with and one without a seatbelt – those made me a proponent of the shoulder seat belts. The accident as a passenger a telephone pole hit us doing 70 mph, none of us was wearing a seat belt, my face broke the windshield and the driver had some very bad face bruises from the steering wheel. (Seat belts would have caused chest bruises and whiplash.) All of us walked away, and the next day when my parents asked about the lump on my forehead and bruises on my neck (from the dashboard) they believed me when I told them I slipped in the shower.

    By contrast, the people I’ve seen who were hit by airbags were all wearing glasses and their faces were very badly hurt requiring professional medical help, one lady had a patch over her eye but I don’t know the outcome of that. IMO if anything is unsafe at any speed it is an airbag. (including politicians :-D)

    BrentP, my thoughts exactly, thank you for confirming them! I bought the car in 2004, it may be old enough there could be a fuse in the system, I need to find the meanings of the acronyms on the fuse panels. Anarchyst you are the best!! I’m a good electrician but inexperienced with electronics and intended to check resistances with the ohm meter. My preference is to at least remove the inflater over just disabling the system since time, heat and vibration cause all things electric to fail – Toyota may be able to fix the shrapnel problem but the rest of the system is still high risk.

    • Just be careful with the airbag itself. I’ve read some of them can be set off by the voltage of the ohm-meter or multimeter on the resistance setting. Damn things are like bombs.

  13. At this year’s baja race (local redneck real stock car racing, loads of fun) the only injury was when a kid didnt pull the airbag and it went off breaking his arm.

    Sad that late model cars are so badly booby trapped. I have reached the point in my life where it would be nice to have a new car, but I refuse to have anything new enough to even have seat belts. Which means stuff as old as I am, or older.


  14. As a former member of a chemical industry safety group, I can tell you that these people are NOT interested in your safety. What they are interested in is inflicting harm on you with no retribution to them and also the power to destroy your life without any consequences to them. These people have no power to themselves and to suddenly be granted power over other people leaves them with an adrenaline surge they can’t resist. As in absolute power corrupts absolutely. These people are closet nazis and fascists, who have lost any semblance of morality.

  15. Just a note – “safety” inspections vary from state to state. Here in Texas, the safety inspection is limited to the following:

    1. Horn
    2. Windshield Wipers
    3. Mirror
    4. Steering
    5. Seat Belts
    6. Brakes (system) (Parking – beginning with 1960 models)
    7. Tires
    8. Wheel Assembly
    9. Exhaust System
    10. Exhaust Emission System (beginning with 1968 models)
    11. Beam Indicator (beginning with 1948 models)
    12. Tail Lamps (2); (1) if 1959 model or earlier
    13. Stop Lamps (3) 1986 and newer; (2) if 1960-1985; (1) if 1959 model or earlier
    14. License Plate Lamp (1)
    15. Rear Red Reflectors (2)
    16. Turn Signal Lamps (beginning with 1960 models)
    17. Head Lamps (2)
    18. Motor, Serial, or Vehicle Identification Number
    19. Gas caps on vehicles 2-24 model years old
    20. Window Tint.

    No air bag checks in Texas. I’ve taken my diesel Jetta in to an inspection with the “check engine” light on – they don’t care or check since it’s not on the list.

    • Missouri is the same way Micheal67. The safety inspectors can be total dicks by failing a vehicle for weather cracks on brake hoses, power steering pump making a slight to non-existent unusual noise, cracked windshield in the path of the windshield wipers, and the use of flex exhaust pipes, but the airbags are not checked.
      My 2000 F-350 has had a flashing Airbag idiot light every since I bought it 6 years ago. It actually flashes a code, but I do not remember the number of the code. I have never bothered to try to fix it because hitting a deer is fairly likely around here. I do not know if my airbag is actually disabled now or not. I also do not know if hitting a deer _could_ deploy it. Either way: I just don’t feel like fixing an unwanted device.

  16. There’s a major issue with disabling airbags in modern cars, and it’s that the seatbelts are now designed assuming that the airbag is also there. They now have a lot more give, and their design is to hold you in a collision, and gently deposit you into the airbag (as gently as possible in hundredths of seconds). If you remove the airbag, and get into a collision, you’re hitting the steering wheel with your head or chest. In early airbag cars, where they were optional, the seatbelt system was designed to hold you, whether or not the airbag was there. A properly functioning airbag and seatbelt system is great, but we see how that turned out.

    • Hi OP,

      Excellent point – thank you! And, of course, the problems created by government lead to more problems… I must acquire that mid-late ’70s dreadnought…

  17. Disconnecting the airbag and getting rid of the airbag light is easy…if done correctly. Do NOT use an ohm-meter to measure the airbag resistance directly. The airbag WILL deploy.
    After disconnecting the airbag, connect a potentiometer to the terminals where the airbag was previously connected. Rotate the potentiometer shaft until the airbag light goes out. Measure the resistance of the potentiometer at that point and replace it with a fixed value resistor.

  18. In the early days there was an obvious single purpose fuse for airbags. However as time went on the airbag circuits became distributed across multiple fuses and/or shared circuits with other things. Pulling the fuse became a non-viable solution. Now there is still wiring in a switch but that runs afoul of various government edicts so it will be a do it yourself project entirely. Enter the modern way to disable an airbag system.

    The airbag system looks for the electrical resistance of the airbag so the goal is to measure or know what this resistance is and on what pins of the connector. Remove the airbag and replace it with a resistor of the proper value bridged across the appropriate connector pins. No fault light and no airbags as they have been physically removed.

    Now keep in mind that screwing up in the process of removing the airbag or measuring its resistance can result in it deploying.

  19. I recall an article about Cadillac trying the idea of airbags in the mid 70’s and determining that they were a bad idea because they were essentially the saaaaafety device that might kill you.

    A friend had his arm on the wheel during a turn when another car struck him lightly in the front, causing the airbags to deploy. His wrist and elbow were broken along with his nose. It was a low speed collision, the kind that wouldn’t even give you whiplash. But there were certainly injuries just because the airbag went off. Doesn’t sound too safe to me.

    I’ve always worried about them and when My Formula Firebird was involved in a collision, my first thought was “I hope the airbag doesn’t hurt me”. Thankfully, although the car was totaled, the airbags did not deploy. My head was bounced against the A pillar and I have a scar to this day because of it, but no claymore damage, thankfully.

    Airbags cause so much damage that people don’t even consider- my wife is an Audiologist and she tells me she sees patients with permanent hearing loss from airbags going off.

    There are ways to defeat the airbag, as you mentioned, either by pulling a fuse or by cutting the wires directly. On older vehicles, you could do this and just put a piece of black electrical tape over the airbag light or remove the bulb in the cluster. But these days, the ECM keeps track of all that and your car will fail inspection if you try it.

    Also, you can be sued if its proven that you’ve messed with your own vehicle. Your insurance company might even refuse to cover you if they find out.

    You’d think an entity which purports to care so much about our safety would not “mandate” something so dangerous, but then again Uncle is the kind of uncle you don’t want in your life.


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