Why Are Airbags So Expensive? (Guide)

We know how effective airbags are at minimizing serious injuries and at lowering the fatality rates in vehicle crashes.

But one of the things that we do know about airbags is that they can only be used once and will need to be replaced once they have been deployed. And you will notice that airbags are quite expensive to replace.

So, why are airbags so expensive?

Here’s why airbags are so expensive

There is no exact reason why airbags are so expensive to replace. But the possible reason may be related to how airbags are not often replaced and how difficult it is for a repair shop to replace them. That is why the costs for an airbag replacement can be somewhere between $1,000 to $1,500 on average.

airbag deployed

Of course, airbags are quite important when it comes to making sure that you are as safe as possible from any serious injuries during a crash.

However, because airbags only work once, you have to have them replaced for a cost that might be quite expensive.

Still, the good news is that most insurance companies cover the cost of airbag replacements, and that’s why people don’t always notice how expensive an airbag can be.


How much are airbag replacements?

There is no doubt that airbags are some of the most helpful safety features of a car when it comes to keeping fatality rates down. Airbags are so effective that they have been decreasing fatality rates in car crashes by as much as 29%, especially when they are coupled with seatbelts.

This means that you need to make sure that your airbags are working properly if you want to decrease any chances of suffering from serious or fatal injuries in a car crash.

But one of the things that you may or may not know is that an airbag is a one-off. That means that once an airbag has deployed, it can never be used again. You won’t be able to put a deployed airbag back to where it popped out of because it can never be repaired or re-used. All that points to the fact that you need to have your airbags replaced once the old ones have deployed.

So, how much does it cost to replace your airbags?

On average, airbag replacements can cost somewhere between $1,000 to $1,500. Of course, the cost will depend on the make and model of your car. We are only talking about the usual price here.

If you are talking about cars that are more expensive, such as luxury models, it stands to reason that they are going to be more expensive in terms of repairs and replacements. That is why there are some car airbags that can cost up to $5,000 for a single airbag.

But the good news here is that the $1,000 to $1,500 average already includes labor expenses from your mechanic. And you have to make sure that you go to a mechanic whenever you have your airbags replaced.

You should never DIY your way out of an airbag replacement because of the very fact that replacing an airbag can be very dangerous. Airbags aren’t “air,” perse. That’s because airbags are deployed by using explosive gases.

So, if you attempt to do an airbag replacement without the proper training and equipment, there is a good chance you will end up injuring yourself due to the explosive gases. And you might even end up causing the airbag to deploy while replacing it and hurt yourself in the process because of the impact coming from the airbag.

Another thing that you should know is that we are talking about the price per airbag here. So, if there were more airbags that were deployed during a car crash, you would have to pay for every airbag. That means that if both airbags on the driver’s seat and on the front seat deployed, you would end up paying $2,000 to $3,000 per airbag.

So, in a sense, an airbag replacement can be quite expensive. It might not be as expensive as some other repairs, such as engine or frame repairs, but airbags are still quite costly. Then again, an airbag replacement is still affordable for most car owners, especially for those who care about their own safety. After all, the hospital bills and the opportunity cost of staying in the hospital will be a lot more expensive compared to an airbag replacement.

Of course, if your car’s airbags deployed, that means that it was in a crash that was serious enough to force the airbags to deploy. That could mean that your car also suffered some damages that need some repairs or replacements.

As such, you are no longer just looking at the cost of replacing your airbags here because you are also looking at the overall costs of having your car repaired. That is why car crashes are quite expensive and why insurance is very important when it comes to vehicle owners.

Should you replace your airbags or sell the car?

However, even though some people are more than willing to pay for the costs of airbag replacements (others don’t even have to pay because of their insurance, which we will be talking about later), there are some people who can’t afford to have their airbags replaced because they don’t have the money for it and their insurance doesn’t cover it.

As such, it really isn’t uncommon for you to find people who can’t afford to pay for their airbags. This presents a tough decision to them because $3,000 can be quite expensive for a lot of people, especially if they are living on a daily wage. So, should you opt for replacements, or should you just simply sell your car?

The thing you need to look at here is the overall value of your car. If you are driving an older vehicle and the cost of having the airbags replaced is higher than the value of the car, then there is no reason to have the airbags replaced. It would make sense to just sell the vehicle and then buy a new one with the money you got from selling it and the money you would have used to have the airbags replaced.

But you should also know that you will have to sell the car using its scrap value because its overall value should be lower than its market value due to the possibility that it is already declared totaled. This means that you might just get a few hundreds or thousands of dollars in exchange for it, but that’s better than paying thousands of dollars for new airbags.

Why are airbags so expensive?

Now that you know that airbags are expensive, you might be wondering why they are actually that expensive.

Honestly, there is no exact reason why airbags are so expensive because there are plenty of possible reasons why you would have to pay thousands of dollars to have your airbags replaced.

The first possible reason why airbags are expensive is that it isn’t a very common replacement job that most mechanics do. Due to how uncommon the job is, mechanics can charge a higher price for the airbags and for their labor. Think of how the law of supply and demand works here and how we can say that airbags are luxury items that can demand higher prices.

Another reason we can think of is related to how airbag replacements are difficult and dangerous for mechanics to perform. Remember that airbags use explosive gases to deploy. So, if it is dangerous for an untrained person to replace airbags, it’s going to be equally dangerous for a mechanic to do so.

Then there is also the possibility that airbags are expensive because they are usually covered by insurance companies. Considering that insurance companies cover airbag replacements in most cases, airbag suppliers and the mechanics that install them are not inclined to pull their prices down.

Do insurance companies pay for airbag replacements?

While airbag replacements are expensive, one of the things you need to know is that people don’t usually care about how expensive replacing an airbag is because the cost is usually covered by their insurance. However, there are still some conditions that need to be met for an insurance company to cover an airbag replacement.

The first condition is that the car is not damaged to the point that it is totaled. If the car is totaled, then there is no point for the insurance company to cover the airbag replacement because it will now cover the entire cost of the car.

Another condition is for the crash to be the fault of the other driver. That’s because insurance companies will go broke if they will always cover repair costs that were the products of the driver’s fault. So, as long as the crash was not your fault, your insurance will most likely cover the costs of replacing your airbags.

This is why there are some drivers that cannot afford to have their airbags replaced, as they may have been the ones at fault in the crash. And that is why some people end up selling their cars instead of having the airbags replaced.

Then again, there are some insurance coverages, such as collision insurance, that cover repairs regardless of who is at fault. These coverages are more expensive so that the insurance company will not go broke if it has to cover any kind of repair regardless of whether or not the driver was at fault. So, if you have such coverage, the good news is that your insurance will cover the expensive replacement costs for your airbags.


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