Hey, does the air bag in this thing work?

If you’ve ever shopped for a used car you are probably a pretty savvy buyer after the experience was over. But did you check the air bag? It turns out that airbags are a quick and easy part for thieves to remove from the car. And since few buyers think to check for this part, most get away scott free.

So how do you know if the car you want to purchase still has an airbag? How do you determine if the airbag will still function correctly?

First of all, you should inspect the steering wheel for signs of tampering. Thieves often leave dings and dents in the interior plastic when they remove the airbags. Another thing you can do is watch the air bag indicator light when you turn on the car. It should glow briefly, then turn off. If the light never comes on, or if it comes on and stays on, then the air bag probably isn’t functioning correctly.

You can also visit the site,, and type in the vehicle’s VIN or vehicle identification number to see if one of more of the airbags in the vehicle has been permanently deactivated. Click on “Air Bags”, then under “Air Bag Basics” on the left, click on “Air Bag – VIN number” to search the database. The data at this site may not be complete since the site relies on third parties to report whether an air bag has been removed or disabled. As a last resort, you can have a mechanic you trust inspect the car for air bags.

For the most part, air bags are an “out of site, out of mind” kind of issue. But since replacement could run from $600 to $800 it may be worth your while to consider this issue next time you shop for a used car.

At Clinard Insurance Group in Winston Salem, NC, we want all of our clients to be as safe a possible on the road. We can also help you get the best protection on your home insurance and your auto insurance at rates that will make your head spin. Check us out at or call us toll free at 877-687-7557.