Reliable SRS in older cars


I like my 1991 Volvo 240 it runs well even after 300K.

I am concerned about the SRS system since it is so old. Will it

reliably deploy? I am concerned about the “solid jet fuel” that is the propellant;

it have read that is life is limited to 15 years. I have been quoted about $4000

to replace the system, wow. That is more that the car is worth.

Is there an airbag rebuilding industry that works at a reasonable rate?

I have searched the Internet and keep coming up with zeros. It kind of surprises

since the 240 has a cult following; resemble that. I would think that there is a

market for rebuilding SRS system on older Volvos.

How critical are properly functioning SRS’s in late model cars? I assume very



Wayne near Oakland, CA


Actually, airbags in older vehicles are much more dangerous than in newer ones. New cars have ‘smart’ airbags, that deploy at lower speeds, and also deploy differently depending on the severity of the collision. In older vehicles, in any frontal collision, the airbags deploy with full force. There have been a number of airbag-induced injuries over the years, including decapitation of children.

The only way I know of to tell if an airbag will work in a collision is to get in a collision - not a very good test. Is your airbag light on? If not, then the system is probably fine.

By the way, airbags are a supplemental restraint system (hence SRS.) They are not the primary system, and will not provide safety if the occupants of the vehicle are not wearing their seatbelts. Seatbelts are the most critical safety component in the vehicle (after the driver, of course.) Don’t worry too much about the airbags, just make sure you have your seatbelt on. Millions of people drove cars and got in crashes before airbags were invented, and they turned out fine. Just ask a number of people on this board.