Airbag installation---mechanic claims needs 4000 miles to reset

My son rearended another car and activitated the drivers side airbag. The shop was supposed to replace the drivers side airbag, the control module, and the drivers side seatbelt (it was jammed after the accident). On the day the shop was supposed to have the car ready they claimed they found they needed a new clockspring. The next day when I picked up my car, the airbag warning light would not go out. The shop person then claimed I had to drive it for 4000-5000 miles before he could reset it. The old clock spring does not look like it has burned connections and the mechanic claims the “brain” inside was damaged.

I told the shop that their story about needing 4000 miles to reset did not make any sense. The person then claimed that if he had tried to reset it at this time it would cost about $300.

I’m insisting that he repair the car at the original estimate+cost of clockspring and repair means “no warning lights” The shop person agreed that he would reset it

Is there a way I can test the clock spring? Does a clockspring have anything inside of it besides wires connecting one end to another? Is there any reason why the 4000 mile story could be correct? Should I even trust this guy to finish the repair (I think I have to give them at least one chance to correct the situation before taking it elsewhere and doing a chargeback or does his 4000 mile story give me grounds to be nastier and take the car elsewhere and demand some amount of money back.). Any theories about what is going on here?

4000 miles? That is, perhaps, the most absurd thing I have heard in some time. You know what happens after 4000 miles? Your 90 day warranty on the work has expired and you have no recourse against them. That’s the only motivation I can concieve of to make such an idiotic claim.

The air bag computer does a diagnostic scan of the system every time you start the car. If the system is functioning correctly, the light will not be lit. When the air bag light is lit, the computer can be scanned for the trouble code(s) that are causing the light to be illuminated. I would be jumping from one foot to the other in excitement to hear the mechanics reasoning for charging you another $300 to immediately extinguish the lamp. This should be part of the repair process and you are most certainly right to be suspicious of this fool masquerading as a mechanic.

They blew the new control module during the repair process and now they want YOU to pay the $300 for another new one. There is no waiting period for SRS systems. They work or they don’t.

Usually, only DEALERS have the necessary diagnostic tools to detect and correct faults in the SRS system. Replacing the module in a system with a fault simply blows the new module…Ka-Ching!

It’s your MECHANIC who needs to be reset!

We need rebuttal comments from the independent mechanic fans in response to what TwinTurbo, Caddyman and lenjack said.

There is nothing to refute…

4000 is incorrect. Sometimes even after the bags, belts and modules are replaced the main body control module still has the SRS code in it and a computer tool can clear the codes. This is a possible solution.

Do not take it elsewhere and expect them to pay, that is opening up a can of worms that will be difficult to resolve.

I assume an insurance company is paying? let them handle this, they have leverage, you have none. If it costs $300, big deal. Let the shop answer to the ins comp. If they smell a rat after the repairs are complete they simply won’t pay the shop for the extra $300. If they call you stating you owe them the money tell them to pound sand.