parked cars

How to Tell If a Used Car Has a Functioning Airbag

Planning on buying a secondhand car, but you’re not sure about the status of its airbag? It’s important to know everything about the vehicle you wish to buy, especially if it concerns your safety. If you know whether the airbag has been deployed, you can make the necessary replacements to ensure it will be up and running in no time.

If the salesperson cannot explain the car’s status to you, or you want to be sure for yourself, there are many ways to tell the case of the vehicle’s airbag. Here are some methods you can prepare and see for yourself.

Do All Your Research about the Model

In the midst of the buying process, make sure you do all of your research about the model. Ask the seller any possible questions, especially information about accidents or emergencies. If the car has only experienced minor damage, such as on its rear, its airbag is probably still intact.

Some sellers are very transparent and will provide a copy of their vehicle history report. However, it is recommended that you still get the vehicle tested by your own trusted mechanic for good measure. 

Take a Look at the Airbag Cover

During deployment, the cover of the airbag will usually split apart. You can easily repair it, but you first have to distinguish the situation. Take a close look at your vehicle’s airbag cover and check for any seams or paint marks.

If there is a seam, it may have been stitched haphazardly. At first look, it will appear intact. Make sure the cover has a Safety Restraint System (SRS) logo and the vehicle manufacturer’s insignia. 

Some cosmetic bags will indicate the lack of an airbag’s presence within it if you look closely.

Assess the Dashboard

When an airbag gets deployed, it will usually affect both the driver and passenger-side airbags. Since you can typically find it within the dashboard, a split open dash will indicate that it has been previously deployed. 

If the dash has been replaced, it might mean the airbag has already been deployed.

Look at the Airbag Indicator Light

Perhaps the most prominent sign of airbag issues is the airbag indicator light. It will usually light up whenever the airbag system needs your immediate attention. Turn on the ignition key and pause on the first position to check the airbag indicator light.

From there, you should see all indicator lights, including the airbag light. If it turns on momentarily and then goes out, it should indicate normal operation. However, if the light stays on or flashes, there might be a problem with the airbag system.

Prevent Accidental Airbag Deployment

If you’ve identified an airbag sensor problem, your next step is to have a professional take a look at it. If left unattended, it could lead to potential danger for you and your passengers. 

To prevent any accidental airbag deployment, you need to check every part of the airbag system to guarantee you aren’t missing out on any potential issues. 


Checking up on your airbag is always a good idea. If you’re planning on purchasing a used car, make sure you have everything covered for complete protection. Talk to a professional to fix your airbag system should you find anything out of the ordinary.

If you’re looking for an airbag replacement in the Westfield area, contact Seat Belt Restore. We provide airbag and seat belt repair after accidents in California. Our module reset services are guaranteed to keep your systems in order before hitting the road. Contact us today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.