Hi, I have a station wagon with 3 seats w/ seatbelts in the middle, and 3 kids. I’d like them to make friends some day, but if I need to transport them plus a friend, my oldest will have to sit in the front passenger seat. He’s still too short to sit in a seat with an airbag, but the local garage and ford dealer both refuse to remove the airbag. They say it’s a liability issue. I’m worried about the liability issue of breaking my son’s neck and my kids’ social isolation caused by having the only mom who can’t drive anyone home. Can I remove the airbag myself, or is there a way to deploy it with no-one in the seat, without hurting anyone, and then remove it? No, I can’t buy a bigger car, I’m a social worker
I do not believe that you are allowed to modify the system at all. It is a felony to modify the air bag system without prior approval from the NHTSA. Anyone who wants to modify the air bag system must petition the NHTSA before doing it. The system can only be modified if a disabled driver or passenger will be less safe with the OEM system. Read about it here:
It’s your car and you can do what you want with it. Somewhere, usually behind the glove box, there is an air-bag module. It’s about the size of a pack of cigarettes, on Fords, most are blue in color…This little device controls (fires) and monitors the air-bags. If you remove it, the air-bag light on your dash will come on and the system will be disabled. Knowledge is power…
It’s illegal for a mechanic to disable the airbags. You’ll never find someone to do that.
How old is your Focus? Some cars have a switch to manually deactivate the passenger airbag when there is a child or smaller person sitting there. Check the owner’s manual for information about this.
I do not suggest messing around with the airbags. If you set them off accidentally you WILL hurt yourself and damage the car. If you disconnect them or otherwise prevent them from working you’re putting yourself at risk.
I suggest putting your oldest in the front passenger seat the few times it’s necessary and not worrying about it.
There is a fuse, somewhere, that controls the airbag system. As with any other fuse, if someone were to remove it the system is protects won’t work.
I wouldn’t remove the fuse if it were my car.
In 1998 Ford started installing lower-powered airbags in their vehicles. My wife had a 98 Windstar, but it was built in 2/07 and still had the full power airbags.
Here is a article describing the 1st, 2nd (depowered), and 3rd (advanced) generation airbags.
Her is an detailed NHSTA article on air bags including legal deactivation
This is why minivans are so popular, that and the ability to separate the kids as they get older. Don’t ask me how I know. Time to start saving up for one