Air bags in a used car




I just bought a 2002 Dodge Neon, 56,000 miles. It was a rental car for most of its life before reaching me. I had it inspected by a mechanic and by a body shop before purchasing it. The body shop noticed the car had been in a front accident but said damage does not seem to have been major and it was repaired.

As far as I know, there is no simple way of knowing if the air bags deployed in that accident. The AIR BAG light in the instrument panel works as the Owner’s Manual describes and my lay eye detects no gross anomaly in the look of the air bag compartments in the steering wheel and on the front passanger’s side.

MY QUESTION: If the air bags deployed in that accident, can an expert but malevolent person not install a new bag but instead manipulate the electronics so the AIR BAG light works as the manual describes?


A mechanic can easily open the airbag compartments and determine if the air bags are indeed present. Since this issue is troubling you, surely you need to pay to find out.

The front end damage may have occurred to the car when parked, in which case the airbags would not have deployed.


You can have a lot of front end damage without airbag deployment. My daughter skidded her eclipse into the back of another car. 6K of damage( hood, fenders, front header, radiator and more replaced) and the airbag did noy deploy.