Driver’s side air bags have been mandatory since 1994, but an air bag cover on the steering wheel or dashboard doesn’t guarantee that the air bag is really there. Missing air bags in used cars are a common cause of car accident injuries and deaths.
If an air bag is missing, it’s usually a result of failure to replace them after an accident. To guarantee a properly functioning air baby system when purchasing a used car, always:
- Look at the air bag cover. If the cover fits poorly or isn’t an exact color match, it might be a replacement and should be checked by a mechanic.
- Pay attention when you start the ignition. When starting a vehicle, the air bag indicator light should illuminate briefly. If it stays on or starts flashing, there’s a problem with the air bag. But if it never comes on at all, it is likely that the air bag is missing.
- Run a report.DMV.org suggests running a vehicle’s history report with Carfax or AutoCheck, which would show accident history that may have involved the air bag.
If you have already purchased a used car, it’s important to make sure that the air bags are present and functioning properly. The best way to do that is to have the vehicle evaluated by a mechanic.
In Georgia, if an auto buyer discovers that he or she has purchased a used vehicle without an air bag, it may be the responsibility of the dealership to install a replacement, and if serious injury occurs in a car accident because of a missing air bag, the victim may be entitled to compensation.