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Are airbag inflators in older cars safe?

I have a 1997 Honda Civic HX, which I purchased new. It has driver and passenger airbags, which have never deployed. At start-up, the airbag indicator light illuminates for six seconds, and then switches off, so the SRS is operating normally (and always has).

My Honda Service Manual says some 97 Civics have Takata SRS units. According to Honda’s Recall phone line, however, my car is not equipped with Takata PSDI-5 airbag inflators, and there are no active recalls for this model.

  1. Since the Honda rep was unable to identify the airbag inflators in my vehicle, how can I identify them?

  2. Takata airbag recall lists only seem to go back to 2000. Does that mean cars built before then are unaffected by the recall because they used different (and presumably safer) airbag inflators? Or are manufacturers only recalling cars built after 2000, leaving folks who drive older cars on their own?

  3. Should I be doing something to counter the effect of my vehicle’s age and the effects of this hot, dry Arizona climate on my car’s airbag system?

You should just keep driving the car

Your inflators were never recalled

I seem to recall some experiments that show that older airbags deploy just fine

I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it

I’m jealous that you live in a climate where you can have a 20 year old car. The only way you can do that here is to store it in mid October and take it out in the end of May.

We have many cars 20 years old . . . and even older . . . in Los Angeles

But most of them are not in good mechanical shape . . . probably due in no small part to California not having mandatory vehicle safety inspections