When the SRS light came on in my 1996 Honda, the dealer told me I needed a new $600 air bag computer. I found a company that sells refurbished ones for about $100. What is the danger of installing a refurbished (reprogrammed) unit?
Danger? I’m not sure there’s any danger, other than losing $100. If the refurbished unit makes the light go off, I’d say you’re good to go. I’d still buckle my seat belt, however, as it is still the primary restraint. The airbag is a Supplemental Restraint System.
The only real risk is that you have no way of knowing if the unit is truly operational. There are many airbag scams going around. Your unit may be programmed simply to work the SRS light. You have no way to test it further, and don’t expect your mechanic to do any checking himself. You simply have to trust your supplier.
Well, you could test the refurb computer by installing it and making sure the SRS light goes out, then unplug one of the airbags and make sure the light comes on again. The computer should detect an unplugged airbag, if it doesn’t, there’s a problem. It’s not a complete test, but should find the true scam jobs.
I had the same exact issue with my 2000 Honda Accord. The dealer wanted $600 so I found a junkyard in Iowa that had a matching unit for $125.00. Since SRS computers are pretty specific they made me pull mine and read the codes off the unit to make sure theirs was a match (it was). Three days later I got it and installed it and it worked. One year later my wife drove that car headfirst into a Chevy Suburban and both air bags deployed beautifully. All she suffered were bumps and bruises and the paramedics were amazed she survived (45 MPH plus collision).
Just make sure the computer you buy is the EXACT replacement or you may be very sorry.