Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Dmitriy asks: Is there a device which prevents an airbag from being deployed? If there isn’t one, or if their sale is prohibited, how can I make one?
My reply: Some regular cab trucks – like my ’02 Nissan Frontier – have a keyed switch that enables the passenger side air bag to be disabled. This was necessary because of the danger of air bags; in a regular cab vehicle, it is not possible to place a child in the back seat – away from the air bag – because there is no back seat. Interestingly, this is an admission – although tacit – about the danger of air bags.
Unfortunately, the driver’s air bag can’t be disabled – at least, not legally. This includes the defective Takata air bags – which are known to be not merely dangerous but lethal. The government will not allow even a temporary “off” switch to be installed- since it might give people ideas.
But, it is possible to turn an air bag off by modifying the system yourself – which you’ll have to do, because no shop will touch this job, because of the threat of a Hut! Hut! Hutting by government goons – who care much more about “compliance” than they do about your life.
The technique involves two things – cutting power to the air bag while also retaining the function of the “SRS” or “air bag” light that comes on (and goes off, if the air bag system is operating) when the vehicle started up. In states that still have saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety inspections, it is necessary for the air bags to appear to be in working order. The inspector will fail the car if the “SRS” or “air bag” light comes on and stays on – indicating a problem with the system.
The procedure for disabling an air bag and keeping the light from narcing you out is readily available online – and I expect some of the regulars here will chime in, purely for educational purposes, of course!
Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
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