Does an Airbag Expire?

We have all heard about the role of an airbag! That thing that pops out once a driver is involved in an accident. But the question is; what if you drive for 7, 14 or more years, what happens to this bag? Does it stay alive waiting to save your life, or does it have an “expiry date”?

As a matter of fact, airbags have been around since the 1970’s and today it is mandatory for every car to have one. Unlike in the past, nowadays automakers never call for inspection or replacement after a number of years. That inspection was simply an observation and a confirmation that the self-diagnostic functions were working properly. Today, modern technology has enabled air bags to last even longer.

So, does an airbag expire?

The answer is yes! However, while some automakers have set time limits on when to replace the car airbag, the actual components are extremely durable. The key difference is the type of seal used to house the airbag igniter, also known as the squib.

Research shows that almost all squibs have used what is called ‘glass-to-metal’ sealing, which is the best for moisture protection. On the contrary a plastic-to-metal seal is more likely to accumulate moisture over the years. This can lead to corrosion of the electrical pins in the igniter and potentially lead to a less responsive airbag.

Putting the technical jargon aside, finding out whether the airbag is working properly is no longer on the car owner. Today, nearly every vehicle equipped with an airbag has a diagnostic function and an SRS indicator light that signals when there is a problem.

This is how it works; when you start your car, the SRS light comes on immediately and then goes off as the self-diagnostic is completed by the computer, if the light never comes up or comes on and stays on, then it indicates a problem with the system. That way you can always know whether your airbag has expired or not.

Conclusively, it is advisable buyers should have more confidence in the automakers who say that presently an airbag can last as long as the car lasts. They say with over 25 years of experience a lot has been put into this area.

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