Can You Sell a Car with Deployed Airbags? (All You Need To Know)

Airbags can deploy for all sorts of reasons, and while most modern airbags don’t deploy outside of an accident, random deployment can still happen.

Therefore, if you’re looking to sell a car with deployed airbags, there are some complications involved. If you’d like to find out what these complications are, keep reading!

Can You Sell a Car with Deployed Airbags?

While the laws do vary from area to area, you can sell a car with deployed airbags in most locations. However, the damage and deployed airbags must still be disclosed to the potential buyer. If the airbags have not been replaced, then you should explain this to the buyer as well.

For information on selling cars with faulty airbags, keep reading below for useful facts and tips!

Is It Illegal to Sell a Car with Faulty Airbags?

Usually, it isn’t illegal to sell a car with faulty airbags. However, the person you are selling the car to should know that the airbags are faulty. If you don’t disclose that information, you could be held responsible for any potential accident and injury that may occur.

With that said, if the vehicle is under an active recall, it cannot be sold until the airbags are replaced.

Fortunately, this is done for free in most cases, and as long as your car qualifies under the recall, the airbags are typically replaced free of charge.

One of the biggest recalls was the Takata airbag recall, which covered many different airbags and car models. If your car qualifies under this recall, it’s essential that it’s replaced as soon as possible, as it’s often illegal to sell the car before replacing the airbags.

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Furthermore, this recall was one of the most dangerous, as the airbags were simply exploding and causing injuries – even when the car wasn’t in an accident. Therefore, these faulty airbags pose a risk even when the car hasn’t been crashed.

If the car is not currently under a recall but is listed for a future recall, you can sell it. However, you must tell the new owner both orally and in writing about the recall.

However, they take responsibility to act on the recall once they purchase the car.

Can a Car Be Repaired After Airbags Deploy?

Can a Car Be Repaired After Airbags Deploy?

You can replace deployed airbags in a car, meaning the repair is possible. However, replacing the airbags can be very expensive. For this reason, cars with deployed airbags are often not repaired.

When you add up the cost of the airbags and other necessary repairs, it will often cost more to fix the car than it will be worth.

If you’re relying on insurance money, it’s quite likely that the insurance company will consider the car “totaled” and simply reimburse you for the value of the car.

With that said, if your airbags are mistakenly deployed, and your car doesn’t have any other necessary repairs, then the car may not be totaled.

Generally, you’ll need to ask your insurance appraiser about your car’s value and allow time for the insurance claim to file.

Can a Car Be Sold Without Airbags?

Usually, it’s not illegal to sell a car that does not have working airbags for whatever reason. However, this is assuming that the car is not under recall for the airbag. In this case, selling the car would be illegal until it got fixed.

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With that said, laws do vary from location to location. Therefore, you should consider checking your local laws before selling the car, as it could be illegal in your area or that special stipulations may apply.

Either way, you should inform the purchaser that the airbags don’t work. Generally, it’s best to get their acknowledgment in writing so that they can’t claim they didn’t know later. After that, it would be on their shoulders to get new airbags.

Can a Car Dealership Sell a Car with the Airbag Light On?

Technically, a car dealership can sell you the car with the airbag light on. In many cases, they’re required to tell you that the light is on, as this will eliminate their responsibility in the case of an accident.

However, if you bought a car and then noticed the airbag light was on, there probably isn’t anything that you can do about it. Most cars are sold as-is, and just because you didn’t notice until after the purchase isn’t necessarily the dealership’s problem.

Furthermore, some dealerships will claim that the airbag light wasn’t on at the time of the purchase and only came on later.

Therefore, you would need to prove that the dealership knew the light was on before they would have any liability.

With that said, you should always check to see if the light is on before purchasing a car. Airbag light is rarely something small and inexpensive. In many cases, an airbag light can be upwards of $1,000.

Even if you only need an airbag examined, that may cost up to $600. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that you check before you purchase a car.

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Is a Car Totalled if Airbags Deploy?

While your car isn’t totaled, the odds are higher than they would be otherwise. Airbags are very expensive to replace – and that’s not counting the damage that was done to your car elsewhere.

For this reason, airbag deployment quickly drives up the price of the car’s repair.

In many cases, this will push the car’s repair past the value of the car. This isn’t always the case, though, so it is still important to go work with your insurance company to find out.

To find out more, you can also read our posts on how long do airbags last, airbags facts & statistics, and if airbags can be replaced.


Usually, you can sell a car with faulty airbags just like you would any other car. However, you should disclose that the airbags have been deployed or don’t work. In some locations, it is illegal to sell a car if the airbags are under recall.

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