How Much Does it Cost to Repair Airbags?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 10, 2018

If you recently were in an accident, there could be a good chance that your airbags deployed.

Once the airbags deploy, they will have to be replaced in order to remain safe while driving.  In fact, there are some states where it is actually illegal to drive without airbags, so you may not have a choice when paying for this service.

If your airbags have not deployed, but there is something wrong with them, then your car’s indicator light should let you know.  If this were the case, a repair may be required to protect you in case of an accident in the future.

Airbag de un Smart by Circula Seguro, on Flickr
Airbag de un Smart” (CC BY 2.0) by  Circula Seguro

How much does it cost to replace airbags?

The cost to replace airbags in a car will greatly depend on the car, which airbag, whether the airbag deployed, if other repairs are needed due to the deployment and the professional performing the job.  On average, be prepared to spend anywhere from as little as $100 to reset the airbag light to as much as $3,000+ to replace all of the airbags inside of the car.  With newer cars equipped with five to six airbags, the costs can add up.

If your airbags are either broken or non fuctional and were never deployed, then the cost of replacing them will greatly depend on the car you drive.  In most cases, plan on spending $1,000 to $1,500 to replace each airbag if you were to hire a professional mechanic.

If the airbags have not been deployed but an airbag light is illuminated on your dashboard, then this type of repair could cost anywhere from $150 to $600 to reset, depending on the time it takes to repair.

Lastly, if you have been in an accident and the airbags did deploy, then they will need to be either replaced or reinstalled.  Reinstalling is generally cheaper than purchasing new airbags, but regardless, like a non-functional airbag, it can still cost $1,000 to reattach an airbag or more if buying new.  This is an estimate if you were to hire a local mechanic.

One member on Yahoo! Answers said they had paid $1,100 to replace her airbags in an Explorer.

Another member on this Quora.com question/answer thread stated he hit a deer and the driver’s airbag, including the legs and curtain airbags, went off as well.  In the end, the total, including labor, was more than $6,000.

According to TheTruthAboutCars.com, dealing with modern cars can be a tricky situation when replacing airbags.  In his case, the costs of replacing an airbag in his Cadillac STS could have been $1,600 for an OEM part, excluding the dashboard.  Not going this route, he decided to purchase used at a local junkyard to save money.

What are the extra costs?

The airbag control module, which houses a chipboard inside of a metal box with sockets for wire inputs and outputs, may need to be reset or even replaced after the airbag has deployed.  This part, depending on the car you drive, can add another few hundred dollars to the estimate.

The impact sensors, which are components placed in various areas of the car, will communicate with the airbag control module and determine which airbags need to deploy and when.  More often then not, these sensors will need to be replaced after a deployment or faulty airbag, but in rare cases, they can be reset as well.

An airbag clock spring is a specialized spring designed to expand or contract as the steering wheel turns.  Located inside of the steering wheel, this part ensures an electrical connection is connected to the steering wheel’s airbag.  In some cases, when the airbag does deploy, it can create a hot environment, ultimately melting the unit.

Like the windshield, the dashboard can become damaged as well.  Common dashboard repairs can cost anywhere from $300 to $800.

Newer cars have special seat belts that may need to be replaced when the airbag deploys.

In addition, depending on the car, other technologies could increase the costs.  For example, Automotive-Fleet.com notes that some seatbelts are sensored to work in conjunction with airbags, and this part may need to be repaired as well when the airbags deploy.

In most cases, replacing the curtain airbags usually requires replacing the headliner as well, which can add a few hundred dollars to your estimate.

Tips to know:

If your airbags deployed, it doesn’t mean it’s automatically considered totaled.  This isn’t always the case.  In order to be considered 100% totaled by an insurance company, the costs of the repair has to be more than the car’s current value — it’s that simple.  For example, if the costs of replacing your airbags and the damage done to your car in the case of an accident far exceeds the total actual value of the car, then the insurance company will claim the car isn’t worth fixing and will cut you a check for the car’s total value.

How can I save money?

Check with your car insurance company if the airbags were damaged or stolen.  Most of the time, your policy should cover it if you have comprehensive or collision coverage.  If the repair costs are high enough, the insurance company may deem the car as a loss.

Talk with at least three to five collision shops/dealerships in the area to see what they charge.

Used airbags could be an option, and eBay is a great place to start looking.  These are airbags that are often taken out of cars that are about to be scrapped; however, if you want to go this route, keep in mind that some insurance companies may void your warranty.

Instead of paying for your airbags to be replaced, you might consider just getting a new steering wheel column that has an airbag that has never been deployed.  Depending on the make and model of your car, this may actually be cheaper than replacing the airbag.


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