My '97 OBW will be 10 years old this Fall. I seem to
remember that the air bag systems need to be checked after
10 years. Has Subaru extended this policy?
As a separate question, how reliable are the air bags after
10 years of being folded up in their small compartments and
subjected to high temperatures when the car is parked in the
While the car still runs fine and I love it, part of me is
looking for a reason to sell it and get a new Forester :-)
Replace xxx with vdr in e-mail address.
Since you haven't used it in 10 years, what are the odds you'll need it
in the future? I have a '71 Jag I've had since it was new. I've never
hit anything or been hit by anything. The only crease I got was when it
was parked at work in the parking lot and some dolt hit it and left no
If you drive your car with your cortex instead of your brain stem, I
doubt you will ever need it.
This was an industry thing ten years ago. Now some of the mfrs are backing
off and saying "replace every 15 years." (There really isn't any practical
inspection.) Personally, I think they are being too finicky. I'm not seeing
reports of air bag failures due to age.
Some new souped up Toyotas reportedly would have a dual airbag system.
Makes me wonder what would happen in case of a partial failure.
Maybe the front seat occupants would twist in a new and interesting
Was it ever tested by Lexus? On live people? :^)
I'd personally be rather punched on the face with a single piece airbag
risk serious spinal cord injuries.
Anyhow, unless you live in New Mexico or on an street lined up with
I think disabling airbags on old cars rather than risk them being
triggered spontaneously is a worthwhile task to ponder.
I think you are describing an air bag that went off when it wasn't supposed
to. That isn't a failure in the airbag but in the SRS controller. That has
been a real problem, especially with certain makes/models/years. The airbag
has failed if it doesn't deploy when it receives a "fire" signal from the
Recently there was an ad on TV showing a little old lady hitting the
bumper of a car stopped at a crosswalk. She was slow moving and the
driver beeped at her. When she hit the bumper, his airbags went off.
Could this really happen, or does the car have to be moving at some
BTW, I don't remember what the ad was all about, just the drama. So much
for silly ads!
Not with modern controllers. They require a specific threshold of
deceleration for a specified period of time, and in the proper direction, to
activate. In addition, the car has to be going some minimum speed for them
to activate. The controllers are designed for not activating if there is
doubt, because the early ones were too touchy. They would even go off if the
car was stationary, leading to all sorts of litigation.
When I was in avionics we tested Emergency Locator Transmitters regularly.
You could drop them on the floor and they wouldn't go off, but if you held
them to your chest with both hands and pushed suddenly until your arms
locked straight they would cry wolf. Same principle.
This is an interesting thread. You know, air bags were originally installed
as a "passive" restraint system because people are too stupid to use their
seat belts. Remember the automatic seat belts in the older Legacy's? What
a pain, and if you didn't buckle them completely I'm sure they did more harm
IMHO seat belts will do more to protect you in a crash than air bags, with
the exception of the new side curtain air bags in a collision from the side.
Let's stir the subject:
A female coworker, a few years ago, got disfigured when the airbag of
her toyota tercel burnt her face and arms. When I saw her, 30 mins
after the accident, I was furious about the airbag injuring her more
than the crash itself.
I believe in side airbags and seatbelts.
You will probably find this link interesting:
An old age friend of mine always says: follow the money trail, who
benefits money wise from the use of airbags? Third stop light?
IIRC the automatic seatbelts, and the airbags that replaced them, were the
result of safety legislation passed by the US congress. The mandate was for
a passive restraint system to be used as a supplement to seatbelts... thus
the Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) designation. Personally, I thought
SRS stood for Stupid Rider Saver.
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