Airbag system installation - absolutely insane?

my sparse googling on the subject - installing airbags in a car that never had airbags (consider a 1988 Hyundai Excel, but any pre-airbag car really) - suggests the idea is absolutely insane on all levels.

is it? I figure the costs and the types of owners combined become prohibitive as to preclude any average shop even thinking about it, but are there such specialty shops that will “retrofit” bags for owners that are just that insane? I have heard the bags must be replaced or serviced on very long intervals. I also presume there are no after market systems.

Yes, it’s insane.

Another vote for insane here and probably dangerous to boot.

This would truly be an absolutely insane and dangerous project that would expose the “professional” who performed this installation to an incredible level of liability when the inevitable happens and the airbags fail to deploy properly, and wind up injuring people, rather than protecting them.

JuniorMint: Airbags are not a generic item that is sold in aisle 9 of Wal-Mart for installation in the car of your choice.

Instead, this highly complex system requires the expertise of automotive engineers and multiple crash tests of the same type of vehicle in order to determine–by trial and error–the proper placement of the sensors, the sensitivity level of those sensors, the exact placement of the airbags, and the amount of power used to deploy the airbags. All of these details vary from one vehicle to another to such an extent that nobody without the resources mentioned above could possibly do it correctly.

Ergo–HUGE liability for the installer.

ditto ; insane.
This is NOT a retro fit.
do NOT attempt to go to a wrecking yard and pull all the parts off of a similar vehicle newer enough to have air bags.

Another vote for insane. Airbags are not like tires. Each car’s airbag system is unique to that car only. The only way to do this properly would cost you millions.

Insane! I visited a body shop the other day and there was a Mustang with only minor front end damage, but both airbags had deployed and the foreman said the airbag part of the work was $5000. That’s for a car that is already equipped to have them.

Agree; this is not a retrofit item, regardless of cost.

Another Vote for Insane. You will never find a business to do this, its a liability lawsuit waiting to happen. Honestly I am one to support many wacky or odd ideas, but adding airbags to a car that doesnt have them would be silly.

Just get a newer hyndai if you are concerned about saftey, because a 1988 Hyundai is not going to be a really safe car, airbags or not. Adding airbags not designed for the car could make it worse in a crash.

There is a reason there wasn’t aftermarket add on airbags.

Agree, the liability alone would stop any shop from doing it. I needed a new seat belt buckle sewn in once and had a hard time getting a professional auto upholstery shop to do it for me just because of the liabilty issue. They finally reluctantly did it as a favor but would take no responsibility for it.

Cars and other equipment becomes obsolete over time. Even though it still runs fine and is servicable, it no longer meets current needs. That’s just the way it is. Tube TVs that don’t accept digital signals are obsolete, and its just time to trade to something more current.

You might find someone willing to do it, but you will NEVER find him again when the bags deploy accidentally or fail to deploy in an accident…

If you must have airbags, buy a car equipped with airbags…

While I think it’s a bad idea, I remember radio commercials in the late '80’s for some shops that were installing airbags into cars that never had them. Among other things they mentioned that steering wheel replacement was part of it. I think one or more of these shops also installed car stereos and alarms. At any rate it seems they are long gone.

Good seat belts would be considerably cheaper and likely offer more safety than air bags

Good seat belts

not to mention helmets - are helmets prohibited for use inside non-motorcycles?

I’ve thought that one use for an aftermarket airbag might be for pre-75 air cooled VW Beetles. You could put a big airbag in the front “boot”, and in the event of a head-on collision it would offer some protection to the driver and the gas tank. And if it went off by accident, it wouldn’t be very dangerous since it isn’t in the passenger compartment.

I like to be a little different, you know swim against the flow so I’m not going with insane.
It’s dumb, foolish, dopey, daft, balmy, barmy [chiefly British], bats, batty, bedlam, bonkers, brainsick, bughouse [slang], certifiable, crackbrained, cracked, crackers, crackpot, cranky [dialect], crazed, crazy, cuckoo, daffy, daft, demented, deranged, fruity [slang], gaga, haywire, kooky (also kookie), loco [slang], loony (also looney), loony tunes (or looney tunes), lunatic, mad, maniacal (also maniac), mental, meshuga (or meshugge also meshugah or meshuggah), moonstruck, non compos mentis, nuts, nutty, psycho, psychotic, scatty [chiefly British], screwy, unbalanced, unhinged, unsound, wacko (also whacko), wacky (also whacky), wud [chiefly Scottish], around the bend, off one’s gourd, off one’s head, off one’s rocker, out of one’s head (or mind), out to lunch …
I could go on but I believe I am now beating a dead horse.

and it just wont work.

For your own benefit, airbags aren’t really all that. Where they shine is saving life and limb across a population. Let me explain.

What makes airbags great, from a public policy aspect, is that they’re passive–they don’t require owner action to save lives. The gov’t knows full well that many don’t wear seatbelts, for instance, and that they are largely powerless to cajole people as a mass into behavior modification. (After all, the leader of the free world was unable, during the energy crisis, to get folks to “Just turn the heat down to 68 and put a sweater on already!”) In sum, passive systems are a regulator’s friend, for compliance reasons.

As one person, though, you have 100% control over whether or not to put on your seatbelt. You aren’t hemmed in by that problem. Just resolve to always, always wear your belt…and never, never drive drunk (or tired, BTW), and you get a much better “bang for your buck” than retrofitting an airbag for a car not designed for one.

As for more extreme measures, does anybody know if there are DOT-approved 4 or 5 point harnesses? Would even a non-street-legal harness be a safety benefit?