No Air Bags In Lincoln Continental

Mom is 80 and lives across the country. She drives a 2001 Lincoln Continental she purchased from Ford new. She is now being told that she cannot get a sticker because the car has “no airbags” and is being pushed to plunk down $1000+ in order to install airbags. She has been the only driver and the Ford dealership has done all the maintenance. She is also on social security-fixed income. Can someone tell me how a car can come off the assembly line and be sold without airbags? If it actually had no airbags, wouldn’t the entire dash console be in pieces? If it was truly sold to her back in 2001 with no airbags, is she responsible for forking over $1000 to install airbags? It all sounds fishy to me.

Wish I was there Daughter

I have never heard of this. As far as I know, all older cars without airbags are grandfathered.

I don’t even think it’s possible to install airbags in a car not designed for them. If it wee possible, it would cost many thousands

Someone is feeding you a load of bull…

edit: I checked online and found this:
2001 Lincoln Continental Sedan - Safety
Dual front side-mounted airbags
if the car originally had airbags, yes, they must be working to pass inspection. did someone remove them?

If I were you, I’d call the dealer and get the info from him directly, your mother may be editing this.

I don’t know how Ford was able to sell a vehicle without air bags for that year?

Air bags became mandatory in all vehicles sold in the U.S. in 1998.


I would bet that there is a warning light on the dashvoard about the airbags. I think that all cars had airbags by 2001. The 2000 Ford Windstar I once owned had airbags, so I am almost certain a 2001 Lincoln would be equipped with rhem. if this,is,the case, the car won’t pass inspection without functioning airbags.

“I would bet that there is a warning light on the dashboard about the airbags.”

I agree. The car does have airbags but no “functioning” airbags that will allow her to get a sticker.

The odds of a car leaving the line with no airbags are not very high at all. Don’t take this the wrong way, but is there any chance your mother may not be of quite the right mind considering her age and misinterpreted something when buying the car?

Meaning maybe she thought it was new when it reality it was LIKE new after being in a collision? There are replacement dash panels and so on that are available with no airbags.

I mention this because an elderly woman years ago who owned a Pontiac here bought that car brand new from the dealer with no doubt whatsoever. Someone a year later sideswiped the passenger side of the car from behind the headlight clean to the rear of the passenger side rear door and she swore on a stack of Bibles that car was like that when she picked it off the showroom floor.
She insisted the car was “made like that” and would not believe otherwise.

Maybe you need to contact FOMOCO Customer Service and drag them into this just to make sure what is going on. This can be done on their website.

Was it ever an option to special order without the air bag srs ? ( I think not )
Find the vin and let me research to see…if it’s factory correct , as is, it DOES pass inspection .
Have another mechanic look at the car. WAS there airbags that are not there now ? ( a la OK4450 ) ( look for mountings and harness plugs behind the dash and in the steering wheel horn pad. )

Did Mom purchase this car NEW from a Ford dealer or was it a used car when she bought it…

If it was new, then it HAD airbags and it probably still does…What is missing is the proper functioning of the airbag warning light on the dash…If the airbag warning light never illuminates then it’s burned out or it has been tampered with so it will not illuminate when the key is first turned on. The inspector probably noticed this and failed her because the airbag system is not displaying correctly…These systems are fairly complex and repairing them can be expensive.

In my opinion, this is just another infringement from our government. If your willing to drive an older car without airbags, who are they to tell you that you can’t. Same with seat belts. If I feel rebellious and want to drive to the store seat belt free, why is it their business. As for the air bag inspection, what about the people with muscle cars or as that goes, pre airbag junk heaps. Are they not allowed to drive on the road? I’m glad I live in a non-inspection city.

Your post is not very clear as to who is doing what to who. The car failed inspection, who is doing the inspection? If the dealer is doing the inspection, then Ford customer service should be contacted to report them. If it is a independent inspection station, then they should be reported to the proper authorities.

The $1000 quote is the biggest red flag to me. For some reason, dishonest mechanics seem to love this figure. I spite of inflation, this has been popular figure with crooks for the last 30 years or so.

Total carp imho. is this a state agency? if not take it somewhere else.

@Ponti – Call your mother and have her read everything on the rejection sheet or at least the work order number and phone number on her copy. No offence meant but we had to do this sort of thing for my wife’s father because of his age the world just passed him by.

I’d have the Ford dealer give it a look, get a written report on exactly what is wrong.

As others have asked, who told here the airbags are missing?

I agree that some vital details are missing or that somebody is confused.

Yes, the car came with airbags when it was manufactured.
Unless they were removed or have already deployed as a result of an accident, the airbags are still there.

Whether they still function is another issue entirely.
And, whether a car can fail a state inspection as a result of non-functioning air bags is also an issue that cries out for investigation.

As was suggested, the OP needs to take the bull by the horns and begin his own inquires via telephone before his mother is rooked by some unscrupulous person.

I think mom is being taken too literally when she says “no airbags.” If someone comes into a repair shop and states “I have no brakes” or “I have no headlights”…it doesn’t mean they are are missing from the vehicle. It simply means that they are not functioning.

I agree, but I am also wondering whether cars can be denied a passing inspection sticker if the airbags are not functioning.

At this point, my state only checks for emissions compliance, but even when we had actual safety inspections, I am not aware of airbag functionality being something that was even looked at. Obviously, this is something that might vary from one state to another.

I think in some areas any lit warning light disqualifies a car from passing inspection.

I agree that the “no airbags” means that the airbags aren’t functional, not that they’re missing from the car.

Yes there are states where a safety inspection is an automatic fail if the airbag, anti-lock, brake, or other “safety” related warning lights are on.

So yeah, if the airbag light is on the cause will need to be determined and repaired before the car can be licensed.

Okay…I got some clarification…those of you saying that it was a light making showing the airbags were inoperable were correct…in answer to some of your questions/comments…the car was bought new from the dealer, who has always done the maintenance and inspections, and she has been the only driver.
I called service and was told that the car has airbags, but it failed inspection due to an airbag light coming on. Upon fixing the problem, they found a worn out airbag part (which he did not state or specify what that part was)…and a spring worn out that also has something to do with the steering wheel horn. I asked if the airbag or its worn components were recall items. “No”.

My line of reasoning…How can a part be worn that has never actually been used in a 2001 vehicle driven by an elder for local driving only. The airbag has never been deployed. So how can any part housed away from the elements such as this, wear out? I see that as a faulty part at the time of installation.

Your thoughts? I am having a very hard time with a cost of over a thousand dollars to replace something that has never been used.

Thanks for your input.

The clock spring was worn out where it makes contact as it rotates. As far as the other part, not know what they replaced makes it a hard guess.