Airbags for older cars

Can airbags be installed in an older car (1992) that was not equipped with them when built? If so, would appreciate info about sources for the needed equipment.

No. This cannot be done. The airbag system is extremely complex, and must be designed into the car from the start. Older cars have seat belts, which will work just as effectively as they always have. Airbags are a SUPPLEMENTAL system, designed to work with seat belts. Airbags are not the primary restraint. Buckle up and you’ll be fine.

With the application of sufficient capital, virtually anything is possible.
Here is an incomplete list of what you would need to do:

*Hire a couple of automotive engineers who are experienced in the development and design of Supplemental Restraint Systems (SRS) for new cars.

*Purchase several (perhaps 10 or so) duplicates of the car which you wish to equip with the SRS.

*Purchase the electronic sensors, associated wiring, and onboard computers to control the SRS for all of the test cars and the car which you will drive.

*Hire an electronic technician to install the above equipment.

*Rent the services of a test facility where the duplicate cars can be crashed under controlled conditions, in order to experiment with the placement and the “tuning” of the various sensors necessary to activate the system.

*Rent at least two Crash Test Dummies, along with their related recording equipment.

*Design a new dashboard cover, steering wheel hub cover, and various other interior panels, have them injection molded, and install them in the test cars and the car that you will drive.

There are undoubtedly many other necessary steps, but this gives you a small idea of what would be necessary. So–yes, it is possible, but without adequate funding to the tune of…probably a few million $$, it is not really do-able.

If you want the latest in passenger protection, I suggest that you buy a late-model car, which will also likely be equipped with far better brakes than a 1992 car, and will likely also have features such as Vehicle Stability Control, ABS, and Traction Control. The total package of air bags and these other items will make you far safer than you would be in a 1992 model car, no matter how that older car was altered or modified.

As usual, VDCdriver posted an excellent response. I would just add one additional response: If you consider replacing your 1992 vehicle with a 1993-1994 with airbag, remember that airbags have a useful life of only about 15 years. If you really want your airbag to work properly, you should replace the bag and have the rest of the system checked out. The cost could easily exceed what you will pay for a 1994 vehicle.