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Re: How to Replace Air Bags for a 1999 HondaAccord
Hey there Henry,
Sorry to hear about your accident. Hope everyone is ok. I worked at a wrecking yard where I pulled hundreds of airbags. I want you to understand, they can be dangerous if handled improperly.
Some warnings before you begin. Take these Seriously!!!
Alway wear safety glasses.
Control the environment - no kids, pets, people horsing around.
Disconnect the negative battery terminal. After you are done, make sure no one is inside the vehicle when you reconnect the battery. If your vehicle has an anti-theft system, you'll need to get your activation codes to reset your sound system.
Do not use solvents to clean your airbags. They may ignite if accidentally deployed. Use only a damp cloth.
Airbags are sensitive to heat in excess of 190 degrees F. Store them accordingly.
Airbags are sensitive to impact - handle them carefully
Airbags are sensitive to static electricity - ground yourself, Spray the seat and rug with fabric softener (anti-static - ever heard the term 'static cling')
The procedures are pretty simple
Disconnect the negative battery cable.
Loosen and remove the retaining screws from behind the steering wheel. Rotate the wheel as needed to access the screws. You may need to purchase new retaining screws in advance to install the new bag.
Return the wheel to the straight ahead position.
Lift the airbag assembly out and disconnect the wiring connector from the rear of the unit.
Unwrap the new airbag (carefully).
Connect the the wiring connector and seat the airbag into the steering wheel. Be sure the wire doesn't get pinched.
Install the new retaining screws and tighten them securely.
Loosen and remove the passenger side dash retaining screws
Move it downward to release the retaining clips and remove.
Unscrew the airbag retaining screws along the edge of the airbag.
Move the airbag assembly downward the release it fom its mounting pegs.
Remove the airbag from the dash, disconnecting the wire as soon as you are able. I believe your model has mounting guides, if so save them.
If there were guides, place them back into the mounting frame.
Position the airbag over the mounting frame and reconnect the wiring connector.
Mount the new airbag, securely tighten the retaining screws.
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Front air bags are not designed to deploy in side impact, rear impact or rollover crashes.There are several reasons why your air bag may not have deployed during a crash. The first reason is that perhaps your crash is not the type of accident where air bag deployment would be helpful. For frontal air bags, this includes many, but not all, side impacts, rear impacts and rollovers. This category also includes minor accidents in which the driver and front passenger (if there was one) did not suffer any significant injuries requiring medical treatment. Many people do not realize there are a lot of side air bags that do not deploy during a rollover accident, even when the vehicle rolls onto its side. That is because those side air bags do not include an appropriate crash sensor that can detect rollover crashes.
It really depends on the type of wreck you were in. Your seat belt being on or off does not have anything to do with whether or not the airbags would be deployed.
If they were not deployed it means that your car will not be labeled as totaled, which is a good thing.
In the steering wheel and passenger side dash.Due to the age of the vehicle probably doesn't have the curtain "side" airbags.The airbags were designed primarily for head on collisions. Here is some useful information to why the may have not deployed courtesy of http://www.asashop.org/autoinc/dec2001/collision.htm How Air Bags Work
To have a frontal (driver or passenger) air bag deploy, certain criteria must be met. One of these criteria is that the frontal impact must be within a 60-degree window, occurring within 30 degrees from the vehicle's centerline. Another key element is that the crash forces are equivalent to a head-on collision with an immovable barrier at 10-15 miles per hour. Because a typical automobile accident only lasts about 0.125 (1/8th) of a second, air bags deploy within 15 to 20ms after the initial crash impact. To create a protective cushion between the occupant and the vehicle's interior, the air bag inflates at speeds up to 200 mph within approximately 30ms after impact. This allows the occupant to contact a fully inflated bag within approximately 45 to 50ms after the initial crash impact. Approximately 100ms after impact the bag deflates.
Air bags will most of the time don't deploy on side impacts, only on frontal impacts they mostly are made to deploy since that's the direction of the car on to which most of the accident will occur. The air bags are just a supplementary device and not a restraint like the seat belt that is use to keep you in your car.
If the cars front end alignment is noticeably off since you gave the shop the car to work on, and the passenger air bag is missing, it sounds like they drove it and had an accident. Any evidence of damage or fresh paint anywhere? Another possibility is that they could have failed to disable the air bags, and while working on the car one deployed. They would have had to remove the deployed air bag, and replace the cover only. This wouldn't account for the alignment problem though. How did you determine the missing air bag, the indicator light is on? You need to check the car over carefully for any signs of accident damage. How long did they have your car in the shop?
I hope for your sake that it is some external electrical hiccough since they are extremely costly to replace.
The fact it didn't deploy however is disturbing.
I suggest you have the stored error code read out with a code scanner; the theft of these things has exploded and it is not uncommon to find used vehicles sold with bags missing.
Please don't try to find this problem yourself; the controls for the bags is fussy and it is not unknown to have them activate by accident while trying to service related areas.