How to Inspect a Second-Hand Vehicle's Airbag Systems

How to Inspect a Second-Hand Vehicle’s Airbag Systems

There is nothing wrong with buying a second-hand car, but it is essential to know whether the former owner has already utilized the vehicle’s airbag system. Once a car has used its airbags, they must be replaced alongside all of the propellant used to inflate or deploy them. Aside from that, all the electronics components of the system must also be checked and replaced if needed. Before buying a used car and making all of the necessary and costly repairs, make sure to do a proper inspection.

It is not wrong to be extremely careful before making huge purchases. If you doubt what your salesperson or mechanic says about the car you are about to buy, you can use this guide to determine the real status of its airbag system:


#1: Ask for the vehicle’s history documentation


Knowing the car model’s details is crucial, but so is its history, particularly accident-related information. You need to know whether the car has been involved in a serious accident that caused its airbags to deploy. Some vehicle sellers provide this information for free, but others might charge you for it. 

It is important not to settle with the report you will get. Seek the professional opinion of a trusted mechanic, too. Apart from determining whether the car has been involved in a car collision, an inspection can help you assess if it is still in good working condition or if a repair will be necessary.


#2: Observe the airbag light indicator


One of the easiest ways to check the status of the airbags is through the light indicator. If you are not yet familiar with how it works, here are the steps you should follow:


  • Step 1: Place the ignition key to the first position, but do not start the car yet. At this point, all of the vehicle’s indicator lights should be on, including the airbag light.
  • Step 2: Turn on the car’s ignition switch and start the vehicle. If the light for the airbag stays or flashes, it is an indication that something is wrong with the system.


#3: Check the quality of the airbag cover


A car’s airbag cover is designed to split open and move to the side when the airbag deploys. Although repairing and repainting it is possible, it will not be as seamless as it initially looked. It is one of the best ways you can physically see that an airbag has been used. 

You can also check for the manufacturer’s logo and the Safety Restraint System logo on the cover. If you find these emblems present, it means that the cover is likely intact and unused.


#4: See whether the dashboard has been replaced


When accidents occur, both the driver’s and passenger’s airbags will deploy. The passenger’s airbag is usually placed underneath or inside the passenger dashboard. That means when it deploys, the dash will split open, requiring a replacement. If the dashboard looks newer than the rest of the car’s interior, that is one sign a repair has been made. 




Unfortunately, some shameless salespeople will hide the truth about airbags from buyers, and even mechanics perform cosmetic repairs to conceal this crucial detail. By knowing the signs to look out for, you will better understand the status of your second-hand car. Make sure to ask the right questions and do a proper inspection before purchasing a vehicle for the sake of your and your family’s safety. 

If you are looking for someone who can take care of your post-accident car restoration, we are here to help. Safety Restore is a trusted service provider for airbag resets, seatbelt replacements, and more. We have a 24-hour turnaround time with service backed up by a lifetime warranty. Contact us today to learn more about our offerings.

Comments (1)

  1. I found your article on air bags very informative. You explained how to identify quality insurance of your airbag but did not explain how I can access the bag to look at it. Could you please explain how to do that. Thank you.

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