CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Advanced Restraint Module replacement

Hello,

I have a 2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac with 74,000 miles, and the airbag light came on (nope, didn’t wreck it). I took it in to have it checked, and they told me the restraint control module was dead and it would have to be replaced (for $600). I have no problem ordering parts and replacing them- I just want to confirm what I was told by the dealership. I really don’t have that much money to spend on this, so hopefully if it is the module, it won’t be that expensive… Can anybody link a replacement for me as well?

Thanks,
Lucas

In many cases those modules can be reset. I’ve fixed several wrecks with blown bags, and have only had to buy one new module. Ask around at a few local independent body shops to see if they know someone who has the proper computer software to rest the module for you. I usually have to give $20 for the check out + $50 for the reset. Digging for the module is the hardest part.

I would head for my friendly U-Pull-It salvage yard and obtain a replacement that way…It’s very rare for a control module to fail on it’s own. Also, there are businesses that can repair them, it’s usually just a “non-replaceable” fuse that blows when something else in the system goes wrong…On earlier Fords, they are located behind the glove box, a little bigger than a pack of cigarettes…

I took it in to have it reset, and they said it wouldn’t reset, so I’m guessing that means it’s a definite on replacing the unit?

Dealerships have special scanners that can determine if the system has any faults outside of the module. I would have that done before I risked blowing another module…

I don’t know what the module is for so I’m just asking. If it affect the air bag system, isn’t there a longer warranty on restraint system parts? I know I’ve had a seat belt retractor replaced long after warranty for zip. Might be worth just asking.

Update: Ok- here’s where I’m at on this project now. I’ve been looking around here (East TN), and haven’t found any control modules to salvage. I have however found several available online through various retailers for anywhere from $50 to $90. Do the control modules have to be from the exact model year, or are they programmed according to the vehicle? The ones I’ve found are 2005, and I’m running a 2007.

Bing- the control module is what operates the airbags and what-not. It activates and deactivates the system, and is responsible for deploying the airbags if the sensors detect a severe enough impact.

The part numbers are different from 2005 to 2007. Also note that there are two different airbag control modules available depending on how your vehicle is equipped, with or without inflator curtain.