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Suzuki Esteem, Car Safety, Interior
#10 of 19 I know what you mean, but
Jun 19, 2003 (8:50 am)
it's deeper than that. By placing a particular airbag in a certain locataion, it is understood that the manufacturer is protected from liability by providing that safety feature.
As a result, the gov't protects the manufacturer, for providing that safety device, by restricting people from tampering with it.
One thing I get from working for a lawfirm is understanding the under-lying legal reasons for things I would have never considered before.
Jun 19, 2003 (3:40 pm)
The only way that you can legally disable any airbag is by filing a petition with NHTSA and getting permission from them.
NHTSA will evaluate your request and either give you written permission or not.
Should they grant the permission, then the disabling must be done by a qualified shop or dealer, as they must file all the necessary papers with NHTSA.
someone wants to install aftermarket leather on their airbag equipped seats
If they are going to do something like that, then they are better off getting the standard seats for the vehicle and having leather put on them.
Two things come into play when doing something like that. One being liability.
I cannot imagine any reputable upholstery shop putting leather on an airbag equipped seat.
The second thing being the fact that in the event of an accident, the energy from the explosion of the airbag has to go somewhere. You would in essence be making a small bomb.
If it is an option in the first place, I should have the option to defeat it.
No, you have the option to not get it.
If it is installed, then it is no longer your option to remove it. That is the law, like it or not.
#12 of 19 there are really only two rules on airbags
Jun 19, 2003 (4:00 pm)
1) the airbag is your friend, even when it isn't, always keep them serviceable.
2) see #1 for all exceptions.
the number of lives saved is of higher importance than some infrequent maintenance costs.
Jun 19, 2003 (7:10 pm)
Interesting thread, and shows up some differences in U.S. and Canadian regulations. In Ontario under the current Motor Vehicle Act a vehicle can not be rejected on a mechanical fitness inspection if the SRS light is on or if the airbags aren't even there, or if the ABS light is on as long as the base braking system is in good repair. I got this directly from the overseer of inspection/enforcement last month. Go figure.
Jun 19, 2003 (9:58 pm)
You would think that with the inspections that any of the states or even Canada do, that specific things like that would be looked at.
Washington doesn't even allow the sale of vehicles with cracked or broken windshields [legally, that is].
Oregon on the other hand, while it requires working windshield wipers, doesn't even require a windshield.
There should be some kind of standard, but there never will be. LOL!
Jun 20, 2003 (3:17 am)
Just bought a Saturn wagon for resale, had to have the windshield replaced because of a small crack to get it certified. Yet there wouldn't have been a problem if the instrument panel had been lit up like a Christmas tree with warning lights. You'd think that 2 of the biggest safety features, SRS and ABS, would have to be operational, but nope. LOL
Jun 20, 2003 (6:10 am)
I've been watching this thread, very interesting to say the least, and I've learned something. But the thing that seems the most out of place with all this is how some laws are written to force us into protecting ourselves, while others are written so that we have a choice. For instance; I live in a state where it is mandatory that I wear a seatbelt while driving a car but I do not have to wear a helmet while riding my bike. Go figure.
#17 of 19 I'm pretty sure
Jun 20, 2003 (7:33 am)
In the US, the insurance industry is/has lobbied for airbag replacement.
Why? Because they pay injury claims, etc. The safety rating of a car is lowered (Ok, that may not be the best way to say it, but hopefully you get the gist) if the airbag is removed.
However, you are still paying the premiums for a car model with airbags.
This is pure speculation on my part, but it seems reasonable.
#18 of 19 Here's another possibility...
Jun 23, 2003 (1:20 pm)
although a bit more far-fetched. Requiring that air bags be functional will actually get cars off the road and to the junkyard more quickly, forcing us to buy newer cars. Here's an example: About a year after my Mom & Stepdad bought their '99 Altima, my stepdad rear-ended someone. Barely hit 'em, but the air bags, both of 'em, blew. This was one of those instances where they would have been better off without an air bag. It was a light enough impact that he didn't even pitch forward, yet the airbag shot off and hit him in the face.
I forget what the airbag portion of that bill was, but the total bill was something like $3,000+ to get the car fixed. Well, $3,000+ is no big deal on a car that's only a year or so old. But a lot of insurance companies total out a car once the cost to fix reaches 60% of book retail. That '99 Altima now has over 100K miles on it, so I'm sure it can't be worth a whole lot. Another minor bump like that would probably total it!
Or take something like my '89 Gran Fury. Built like a tank. I could probably run into something and not even do any real damage to it, yet still set off the airbag. So what would ordinarly be a trip to the junkyard to buy a new header panel for $200 suddenly means a totaled car! Well, at least it only has a driver's side airbag, so maybe it wouldn't be *too* expensive to replace. Anybody have a rough idea what something like that would run?
#19 of 19 depends... do you feel lucky?
Jun 23, 2003 (3:08 pm)
there are junkyard pulls to be had for 40-50% of the price of new airbags... which also include the cost of the appropriate carraige system, be it steering wheel, dash panel, or whatever. a drivers bag maybe is 800-1000 new, so that's an easy calculation. oh, you can't paint these, das ist VERBOTEN!, so you have to find a matching unit.
ASSUMING you don't have an early-system unit in which the inflator canister is separate from the airbag, in which case add another 100-200 dollars.
AND ASSUMING the used one really is serviceable, and is not a refinished component with a dead airbag inside.
AND ASSUMING it doesn't go off with a bang due to handling or static at any point in the purchase/transportation/installation/first test drive phase. nothing like having hands full of screwdrivers between you and a loose-hanging airbag inches from your face, and then it goes off.
AFAIK, there is not a safe and effective ohmmeter test for airbags, and I wouldn't try it anyway. you've got a stick of dynamite in equivalent explosive power inside there, and that isn't my game.
I would leave it to the professionals using a fresh factory part, and wince and cuss the cost.