Airbags are some of the most important safety features on any vehicle, but new ones will cost you a fortune.
Therefore, if you’re thinking about reusing the ones you already had, you may be unsure about the safety surrounding this practice. If you’d like to learn more about it, keep reading!
Can Airbags Be Reused?
You can reuse an airbag only if it has not yet been deployed. Reusing airbags puts you in danger in the event of collision because they might not deploy a second time. You can, however, take airbags from one car and install them in another but only if they have not been deployed before.
If you’d like to learn more about reusing airbags, including why you shouldn’t, reusing different components and more, keep reading for more useful facts and tips!
Can Airbags Be Reused Once Deployed?
As stated above, you can’t and shouldn’t reuse airbags once they’ve been deployed.
Airbags are designed to kick in during intense situations and can only handle one deployment in their lifespan, as we’ll discuss in more detail later on.
Therefore, once an airbag deploys, a lot of its design elements are permanently out of commission, so you should avoid trying to reuse them.
When airbags were first becoming adopted by major manufacturers, they used to make it so you could stuff them back in after they deployed.
As time went on, however, it became clear that this wasn’t safe because deployed airbags were not as effective as they were when new.
Can Airbags Be Used More Than Once?
You shouldn’t use an airbag more than once because their effectiveness drops to near zero after the first use.
If you get into a collision and your airbags deploy, regardless of how intact they look after, you should get them replaced with a new set.
Having airbags in your car that have already deployed puts you and your (usually front) passengers at risk if you get into a crash.
Why Can’t You Reuse An Airbag?
Airbag systems are designed for single use, meaning that they can’t work after the first time they’re deployed so you have to replace them.
For example, the bag itself could explode or get punctured during an accident, making it unable to inflate properly a second time.
Moreover, the substances used to create the chemical explosion that inflates the airbags usually are not enough to facilitate more than one deployment.
If you get into a crash and the airbags don’t get deployed, experts also recommend that you get them replaced anyway because they might have become exposed to the elements and become compromised.
Some of the ways this could happen include airbag system components getting wet from the rain, puddle water or other liquids that might have come into play during the accident, and sustaining damage from direct impact.
Can Airbag Inflators Be Reused?
Like the airbags themselves, airbag inflators aren’t meant to be used more than once, so you should get them replaced after the airbags deploy the first time.
Airbags work by having chemicals loaded into them that are rigged to explode in the event of an accident.
An explosion is the fastest way manufacturers have found to inflate the airbag, so it kicks in before the accident causes damage.
Although these chemicals are meant to ignite incredibly quickly, they also have to be in an amount that creates enough of the gas to inflate the airbag. As well, they have to be in an amount that’s small enough to burn fast.
This means that manufacturers load up only a small amount of these chemicals, further indicating that they get used up on the first instance of airbag deployment.
If you don’t replace your airbag inflators after they deploy, they’re not going to be able to help you if you get into another crash.
Is It Important To Be Able To Reuse Airbags?
A lot of people are interested in the ability to reuse airbags primarily for financial reasons (i.e. because getting them replaced is expensive).
While this is a genuine reason to want to give used airbags another go, you should keep in mind the fact that they’re only designed to be effective once.
If you’re dead set on being able to reuse your airbags for this reason, you should think about how much more expensive a crash would be if you had airbags installed but they didn’t deploy at all.
Other people consider reusing airbags due to environmental concerns because the bags themselves aren’t easy to dispose of.
If this is what has you looking for ways to reuse an airbag, you might be happy to learn that there are specific guidelines that address their disposal.
For example, the EPA says that a deployed airbag doesn’t have to be treated as hazardous waste, meaning you can take it to your local landfill and it will be fine.
An undeployed airbag, on the other hand, likely still has the reactive chemicals inside it so it would be considered hazardous waste. However, there are waste handlers that have been trained specifically to handle them, and you can look for one in your area.
Being able to reuse an airbag is important in a lot of cases, but as of now none of them are worth the potential risk or stress, so you should look into proper ways of getting rid of them.
How Many Times Can You Use An Airbag?
As discussed above, you can only use an airbag once because that’s what they’ve been designed for. Overall, using an airbag more than once is likely putting yourself in harm’s way.
You cannot and should not try to reuse airbags after they’ve been deployed because they will not work. Regardless of whether or not they look okay after they deploy for the first time, you should always get your airbags replaced after a crash.