The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released a study on airbag deployment showing the increased risk of fatality in accidents that do not include airbags. According to the study, out of the 2.5 million vehicles totaled and issued salvage titles by the insurance company, 40% are rebuilt and put back on the road for resale. Many of these “salvage” titled cars are put back on the road without air bags, or with an improper airbag that may not function correctly.
Since only a few states have laws regulating airbag system replacement, a buyer of a used vehicle may never know if they can expect their airbag to function properly in an accident. Below are a few tips to help used car buyers ensure they get an airbag they can count on.
– When you turn on the ignition, look for the airbag light to momentarily light. If the light stays on or flashes, there may be a problem with the airbag. If the light never comes on at all, this indicates that the bulb has been removed, and that there is most likely no airbag present.
– Have a mechanic you trust take a look at the used vehicle prior to purchase to make sure the airbag is working.
– Ask for a Carfax report on the vehicle, which will indicate any airbag deployments in the vehicle’s history. You only need a car’s VIN number to attain a report.