Replacing Seat Belts And Air Bags After A Crash
June 02, 2010By Jim MacPherson, On The RoadA reader whose 2008 car was just involved in an accident severe enough to cause the air bags to deploy, and who has no collision co converse trainers verage, wants to save $290 by not replacing the seat belts.Seatbelts are designed to protect, but as one industry spokesman put it, “They are designed to work just once.” In a crash, seatbelts stretch as they restrain you. If the air bags were also deployed, the chances are the seatbelt’s pretensioner which reels in slack was also activated. This slack could be the result of the passenger wearing bulky clothing or having misadjusted the belt. Just a small amount o converse trainers f slack will significantly reduce a seatbelt’s effectiveness. The inertial reel locking mechanism might also be designed to only work once. And the webbing of the seatbelt may have stretched. More reasons to replace the seatbelt after a crash.The question of whether to repair safety equipment after a crash raises another issu converse trainers e: What about the air bags? How do you know that once they have been deployed they are being replaced correctly?In October 2008, National Public Radio highlighted the problem of crashed cars that have been put back on the road without replacement air bags. The cavity once filled by an air bag may have been stuffed with plastic shipping peanuts, paper, aluminum cans or even the old, deployed bag.In January 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported on a review of 1,446 fatal crashes. In nearly 20 percent, the air bag was missing in action, NPR said.There is, unfortunately, a real financial incentive to cheat on air bag replacement. If you think that the seatbelt that prompted this column is expensive, go price an air bag. They start at about $800.In some cases, the absence of an air bag may not be the result of a penny pinching vehicle owner. He or she might have paid for a new bag, but the shop doing the repairs might have pocketed the cash instead. After all, what are the chances of the same car being involved in two major crashes?All of this suggests that a thorough examination of safety equipment is in order before buying any used car. Avoid vehicles with an air bag warning light that either refu converse trainers ses to go out, or will not come on when you start the car. And be suspicious of seatbelts that are frayed, have torn stitching or will not retract properly.