Airbag control module

I have a 2000 BMW Z3 that has had the airbag light on for awhile now. I was told by the dealership that it needs a new airbag control module and would cost 3076.00 to replace and reprogram it. This car is old and I only drive it about 4 months out of the year. How important is it to replace it? I was driving way before the airbag was invented! Thanks for your help. Edy

Welcome to the forum…

The air bag is only important for you and anyone riding in your car or driving it in the event of a wreck, it will/should not affect the vehicles performance or durability in anyway… It doesn’t affect me or others not in your vehicle, so there is that… BUT if you have a wreck with bodily injuries with a known air bag issue then your insurance may not cover you in a lawsuit against you from your passenger in the event of air bag failure Sooooo, it is up to you basically…


+1 to Dave’s comments.

Are those the months when unexpected traffic accidents never occur?

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Very true, I have a friend that did a complete frame off build on his Chevelle and afterwards his son asked to drive it, Dad said NO, son said “I am not going to wreck it dad” Dad said, son nobody gets up in the morning and says, gee I guess I will take the hot rod out today and wreck it… that is why it is cause accidents and not purposes… son never got to drive it, if you knew son you would understand why… lol


I personally would go to an independent BMW shop and get a second opinion. If confirmed, I would look online for someone who knows how to repair the module or look for a used one. The unknown risk is that the bad module will fire at the wrong time. I am curious about how much of that $3000 estimate was the part and how much was the labor. I had a Miata ECU rebuilt and re-programmed by a specialty shop for $125.

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I would even call a body shop to see if they would do it, body shops around here are sometimes $50.00 an hour less then a mechanic shop for some reason… or used to be anyway…

Look on, call local wreckers. Get a 2nd op from an indy shop.
That light would bug me and I have drive some falling apart cars.

I’d bet the bulk of the cost is the airbag computer itself. It is, after all, a BWW part… Bring More Wallets!

Even if a wrecking yard would sell you an airbag ECU, finding someone who can or will program a used ECU for you might be difficult.

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Look at Call them for advice. The most important thing seems to be to start with a good diagnosis. Don’t install any module until the entire system is functioning correctly.

Me, I’d worry more about an air bag deploying when it shouldn’t vs not deploying when it should. As long as there’s only the driver in the car , imo it’s a compromise they have to decide for themselves.

Do people ever do component level repair on car modules? The airbag light is usually on due to a fault with a component in the system. There are diagnostic codes that can be read from an airbag control unit.

How valuable is this car? How many miles and how is the overall condition? If this is a low-mileage car in excellent condition, pay the $3100 and fix it right. If it’s already got 200,000 miles, the body and interior are beat-up, etc, then you should save your money.

And don’t worry about the “risk” that the airbag might deploy when it shouldn’t. There are several redundant safety features to prevent that. Always wear your seat belt (which you should do EVERY time you get into ANY vehicle) and you should be fine.

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Since we don’t know exactly how this system has failed, we also won’t know if all the redundant features are still operating.

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