Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Do Airbags have a life expectancy?help!

HELP HELP HELP. I went to autozone here is my first experience. the first autozone, the guy say my airbags are probably old and need to be replaced, I had a puzzled look on my face because I would of never expected an answer like that. He said they were probably old and needed to be replaced. I asked for the computer to put on it, and he said the check engine light had to be on.

second autozone, much better. I got the computer and at the same time I noticed the positive battery terminal was cracked, so I replaced that on the spot thanks to their help, then the computer gave me a code P0445, the prinout said the following:

1-purge or vent soleniods defective

2-check connector and wiring ( which I had just done)

3-fuel saturated vapor canister

4- failed EVAP vent soleniod

I also noticed the slip said OEM BRAND: Domestic

I started the engine and for a second the light as off then on again. The lady at autozone did not know how to use the sensor machine, should we have put that it was an import? any suggestions?

There is a lesson to be learned in this, and it is simply, do not take repair advice from the people at AutoZone. I mean, sometimes they know what they’re talking about, but the “airbags are probably old” bit is rather telling.

You don’t mention what kind of car you have, so it’s a little bit difficult to say whether they had the code scanner set up correctly for your car. If indeed they did, it sounds like you have a bad vent solenoid on the evap canister.

sorry this was part of another post so the car make was not included it is a 2001 vw beetle

Well, I guess since it’s OBDII, the code is universal.

The thought occurs to me that this could be as simple as a bad gas cap. The evap system might be seeing that no vacuum is being set in the fuel system and reading that as a stuck vent solenoid, when really it’s the gas cap not forming a seal.

First off airbags do not get “old” and need replaced. Second the code P0445 is a powertrain code §. At this point it can be ignored because the “Check Engine Light” is not on. It could be an old code that was not cleared. The scanners that you find at Autozone and Schucks are not capable of communicating with the airbag module. I am afraid the only way to find out why the light is on will be visiting a VW dealer. This does not mean that you need to have the dealer repair it just scan it for codes. You might also try calling local repair shops and ask if they have the ability to scan your vehicle. I had to pay extra to get the German information for my MODIS. If you have a local repair shop that works on BMW, Mercedes, etc. they may be able to scan it as well. Hope it helps.

You don’t need to start a new thread every time you post a question about the same car…

Airbags (the bags themselves) will last the life of the car. Yours have a fault in the system somewhere, making the “airbag” dash light come on. The airbags are NOT part of the ECM, the “computer” Autozone scanned for you. ONLY a Dealer or a shop that specializes in VW’s can scan and repair the airbag system. Forget Autozone for that problem.

As for the other faults, they relate to a system that traps fuel-tank vapors and purge them back into the engine (instead of letting them vent into the air.) This will cause you to fail an emissions test but it won’t effect the operation of the car. You can spend a lot of money and STILL not get that CEL to go off, or you can drive the car and forget about it.

Regarding the life of airbags, I don’t know if there is a final determination of their life; but it’s not a problem on a 2001 car. I would not state that they last the life of the car, they haven’t been around long enough to know. The oldest airbags are barely 20 years old, I don’t think anyone knows how well they will work after 30 or 40 years. We will have to wait and see.

Actually, there were some mid-70s GM cars that had airbags. Those used a different system from modern airbags, though. It was not a popular option at the time.

I didn’t know about those, the first ones I knew of were about '86. Fortunately, I don’t own anything with air bags.

At the 1974 World’s Fair in Spokane, WA, GM was showing off airbags at their pavillion–they were an option in some of their cars at the time. I (age 11 at the time) was called up out of the audience with several others to sit in an Oldsmobile station wagon where they then exploded the airbags. No one lost their heads over the incident and for a car person like myself I thought it was great.

Nationwide Insurance also installed airbags in a large fleet of Mercury Monterreys in the early 1970’s and had TV and magazine ads about it. They even had a '72 on display in the local mall in Cincinnati for a few days showing how the interior still looked okay with airbags installed, along with photos of some cars that had been wrecked in tests (and some unintentionally where the drivers had been unhurt). They were really pushing hard to get consumers to create the demand.

You were smart to go elsewhere.

Your airbags will last the life of the car. When airbags first came out it was thought that they would have a life and need to be replaced. If memory serves, I believe 5 years was the predicted lifespan. Testing as the years have passed has proven this concern to be unfounded.

If I understand correctly, you got the code after replacing the computer? The ECU? Why was the computer replaced?