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What You Need to Know About Airbag Replacement Costs

Marc Skirvin
Marc Skirvin

What's in this Article

When it’s working properly, you don’t even need to think about it. In fact, when it comes to safety it’s one of the most important components of your vehicle and will be a major, life-saving factor should you experience a crash.

We’re of course talking about airbags. But airbags, by their very nature, are one-time things. The reality is that once you’ve deployed an airbag, you’re going to need to think about replacing it.

That’s why we’ve written this post to chronicle all things airbag replacement. We’re going to divulge why exactly you should replace your airbag in the first place. Then, we’ll look into the kind of costs you should expect to pay for the bag itself as well as everything else you may not have considered.

Hopefully, you’ll never need to use this advice. But if you do need an airbag replacement, read on to find out the costs that you should be preparing for.

Why Get an Airbag Replacement, to Begin With?

If you need an airbag replacement, the chances are your old airbag has been deployed due to an accident. If this is the case, we shouldn’t really need to tell you why you should replace it.

An airbag can save your life in a crash. Not only your own life, but it can also work to save the life of your front seat passenger as well, no matter who that is.

In frontal crashes, a working airbag can reduce driver fatalities by 29%, whilst also reducing fatalities of front-seat passengers over the age of 13 by 32%. Not only are you putting yourself in unnecessary danger by not replacing your airbag, but you’re endangering your passengers also.

This isn’t the only reason though, as not replacing your airbag could mean your car doesn’t pass its safety inspection. That means that you won’t be able to register your car for the road and won’t be able to drive it.

Not only that, but you won’t be able to sell the car to another driver until you’ve repaired the airbag anyway. This is because it isn’t safe for them to drive it, just as much as it isn’t safe for you.

Selling a car that needs work is hard enough, but it’s not possible to sell to another driver if your car needs an airbag.

The airbag light on your car will remain illuminated whilst the airbag isn’t repaired. Whilst also being an annoyance, this can even in some cases become a distraction for drivers. 

The last thing you want is a constant light in your mind’s eye whilst you’re driving.

Now you see just how important replacing an airbag is. With that in mind, how much should you be looking to spend on a suitable replacement?

Factors To Consider in Airbag Replacement

Before we get into the figures, let’s talk about factors that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to airbag replacements.

This is more work than you might first think when it comes to car repairs. Firstly, the obvious, in every airbag replacement job the old airbag must be removed and replaced with a new airbag.

This is the crux of the job, but other factors are involved. Usually, seatbelt retractors and buckles will also be replaced alongside an airbag. This is due to the likelihood that a crash occurred, and to ensure these items remain safe as well as the airbag itself.

There’s also the impact sensor that has to be taken into account. The sensor is what deploys your airbag and this aspect typically can’t be reused. That means that the sensor also needs removing and replacing alongside a new bag.

The internal wiring of your car will also need to be checked, in case any damages have occurred. 

This isn’t accounting for any additional damage to your car caused. Airbags, particularly on the passenger side, can often cause smashes in your dashboard window, or other collision repairs may be needed.

Some cars also have several airbags that will need replacing or different types.

As you can tell, this makes replacing an airbag a more complex job than you might first think. This all needs bearing in mind and factoring into your car model, to plan appropriately in terms of costs.

How Much Does an Airbag Cost?

The first thing to bear in mind then in terms of figures is the cost of the airbag itself. Given this is the main thing you’re replacing, its the main figure you’ll need to bear in mind and won’t change no matter what condition your car is in.

For a singe airbag replacement, you’ll be looking to spend around $1,000 to $1,500.

As noted above, your car may have multiple bags that need replacing, so this number could be multiplied. This also doesn’t factor in any modules that might need replacing or other repairs.

This figure is solely to purchase a new airbag. 

So hypothetically, if your car has two front airbags that went off as well as a single side airbag and a single leg airbag, you’re looking at around $4,000 – $6,000 on the airbags alone.

These figures are general, however, and not specific to manufacturers. Different manufacturers will charge different amounts for their airbags. For example, Honda side passenger airbags are more expensive than Ford’s models.

As a general rule, the more expensive your car brand is overall the more expensive repairs for it will likely be. This rule can typically be followed in response to airbag replacement as well as repairs noted below.

This will then need to be added to the other figures, as below.

How Much Do Airbag Modules and Repairs Cost?

You’ll then likely need to pay for module replacement as previously mentioned for each airbag, which can cost around $600.

That means that if four bags went off as in the hypothetical scenario above, you’re looking at around $2,400 for module replacement as well as roughly $5,000 for new bags.

But then the figures really start racking up when you start looking at repair costs.

The repair costs are a bit more dependent on the actual state that your vehicle is in. If you only experienced a slight bump that set off your airbags, you might not be looking at much in the way of repairs.

But if you had a full-frontal collision that’s significantly impacted much of your vehicle, repair costs can start racking up fast. The costs of this will also differ depending on what aspects of your car were affected.

If the actual framing or unibody of your car were damaged, that can cost a whole lot more than if the damage is purely external. 

As very general estimates, you could be looking at anything from $1,500 to $10,000+ depending on the extent of repairs that need undertaking. Bear in mind this will also differ depending on the model of your vehicle.

It will also be affected by how old or in what state your vehicle was in before damages occurred, as well as the size of your vehicle overall. The bigger the vehicle the more expensive repairs are.

What’s the Total?

So as you can see from the above, airbag replacement costs will differ wildly depending on the situation.

If you’ve only had one airbag go off accidentally, you’ll be looking at approximately $1,800 to replace both the bag and the monitor. But if you’ve experienced a terrible crash, you could be looking upwards of $20,000 for full repairs and the replacement of your airbags.

We have to stress that these figures are just estimates and are very dependent on the individual state of your car. No matter what repairs need doing, your car will also need extensive bodywork in order to be ready to drive again.

This is what drives the repair cost up even more if it wasn’t high enough already! It all adds up to a huge cost, no matter how severe your damages are.

Are There Any Alternatives to Airbag Replacement?

In regards to airbag replacement costs, you may be looking at a hefty price tag if you want to keep the car. If your accident was especially bad, you will likely need to pay a huge sum on repairs.

But there is an alternative in the form of salvage. This is usually a more financially viable way, as you can end up earning money from your wrecked car which you can spend on a new vehicle.

This way, you don’t need to spend any more at all on airbag replacement costs. Luckily for you, here at Cash Auto Salvage, we pay up to $20,000 for a vehicle.

Not only that, but you can obtain a free quotation on your vehicle through our website. Simply fill this form in today and we’ll let you know exactly how much your vehicle is worth to us and how to go about making the sale.

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About the Author


Marc is the Co-Founder of Cash Auto Salvage and Director of daily operations. He retired from a leading Internet Marketing company in 2013 and has been involved in the automotive industry ever since.

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