Reader Question: Air Bag Disconnect?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Judith asks: What happens if I pay someone to disable my air bag? Besides loss of warranty? Would I go to jail? Obviously the dealer mechanic won’t do it but I bet for a price I could find someone. Also if my 2015 Honda Civic is not on any airbag list, does it mean I have a good airbag? Even when they work they injure your face. I – like you – hate being told what I must but. I was lucky to get no GPS and if my phone is properly shut down then finding me is by description and license plate. I too hate the diver less cars. I feel there are already too many people driving that are stupid eg driverless.

My reply: It can be done; but it will have to be done on the “down low,” as the saying goes. No dealer will touch this – for the same reason that no dealer would remove a catalytic converter for you. It is very illegal and they face Hut! Hut! Hutting! for such things. Well, they’d face fines and loss of government permission to operate, etc.

However, you could probably find an independent mechanic to do the deed – if he trusts you not to squeal on him.  He could also lose his permission to work, among other things.

If your Honda has one of the defective Takata air bags, you should have received a recall notice.

See here for more, just in case.

If not, you are probably ok – as far as the defect. However, air bags can still be dangerous, even when they work as designed. Because of the way they are designed. They explode with great force and can – and have – injured and even killed people. I personally would not want an air bag and resent being forced to buy one.

PS: If you do find someone to disable the bag, make sure it looks as though it has not been disabled. That the “SRS” (or “air bag”) light in the dashboard comes on at start-up and then goes off after a second or two – as it would if the air bag were fully connected and working correctly.

Reason? In states/counties where “safety” inspections are mandatory to get or renew registration, your car will fail if the air bags are found to be disabled.

. . .

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. This information is for informational purposes only….

    Airbag disconnection is technically illegal under federal law but it can be done easily and safely.
    You will need tools to disassemble the steering wheel and will also need a volt-ohm meter. Additional parts needed will be a 100K potentiometer, used to determine the resistance value needed to turn off the airbag light. Connect the center and one of the side lugs on the potentiometer to the airbag vehicle connector, NOT to the airbag connector itself.
    1. Disconnect the vehicle battery and wait 15 minutes for the airbag circuit capacitors to discharge.
    2. Remove the airbag from the steering wheel and unplug the airbag connector.
    3. Reconnect the vehicle battery and connect the potentiometer to the vehicle airbag connector.
    4. Rotate the potentiometer shaft until the airbag light goes out.
    5. Using the volt-ohm meter, measure the resistance of the potentiometer center and side lug.
    6. Obtain a fixed-value resistor of the same resistance value (ohms) and attach it to the connector.
    7. Reinstall the airbag without plugging in the connector.



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