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

Subaru Airbag Recall

I received a letter from Subaru saying my 2009 Forester is being recalled for a defective airbag. The letter said the necessary replacement will not be available until next Spring. Meanwhile. no one should ride in the passenger seat.
I feel like Morgan Freeman driving Miss Daisy when my wife is in the car. Is this necessary?
If the passenger side airbag is defective, what about the driver airbag? Is it a different design or manufacturer that makes it unlikely to explode? Or should I be wearing a full-coverage motorcycle helmet and bulletproof vest when I drive?

WE just had the airbag replaced in our Toyota. Yes, the passenger airbag is the one being recalled. My wife did not stop riding in the passenger seat since we live in a dry area, the car is always garaged, and the probability of an explosion is extremely remote.

However, car makers practice CYA and want to make absolutely sure no one will sue them if the bag trigger goes off.

If I lived in a tropical area and the car was constantly in the rain, I would have no one riding in the passenger seat until the bag was replaced.

Can’t believe this is a recent comment. Thought it was from a couple years ago. What’s wrong with Subaru? I’d simply unplug, pull the fuse, or otherwise disable that bag and drive carefully. We had the same thing in our Acura and I didn’t do a thing except trade cars.

Gee, I’d just disconnect the passenger airbag and continue as usual. Make sure your passengers are belted.

Called the dealer about disabling my Takata airbags, got a no can do answer.

To disable the passenger side airbag, disconnect the negative battery cable and wait five minutes.

Remove the glove box.

Then looking up, you’ll see the airbag connector to unplug.


Buyers demand more and more air bags, that’s a feature that sells cars. And this is the unintended consequence. In the meantime, the spouse rides in the back seat I guess. Messing w/the airbags is probably illegal, and if you get in an accident you risk having to sit in a courtroom trying to explain why you did it, and if you can’t, a big fine, jail, and the insurance company refusing to pay. There’s really no good solution other than to sell the car.


If the system isn’t SAFE, why not disable it?


If the owner is certain disabling the airbag is legal, their insurance company approves, and doing so doesn’t come w/unintended consequences then it’s an option.


And none of your vehicles have either ABS or airbags?

And you’re preaching?


None of my vehicles have airbags. Not intending to preach. Just offering an opinion for the OP to consider is all.

Excerpt from “Automotive News” 8 December 2016:

"… Currently, it’s illegal for dealerships to disable a functioning airbag. But Toyota let dealers disable Takata Corp. airbags, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s blessing, in recalled vehicles if replacement parts were unavailable. The rationale was that the affected airbags were nonfunctioning, so it was OK to turn them off.

Without replacements, disabling recalled airbags is the only viable solution… "

The same goes for for other brands and models.

1 Like

You can’t really sell a car with bad air bags either so I don’t see that as a viable option. When we traded, the dealer said it would have to sit on the lot with the other cars waiting for air bags before they could sell it. I suppose you could do a private party sale but I’d be a little concerned with the liability in this day and age. Ours was the passenger bag and I would not let an insurance company tell me I couldn’t unplug a bad bag that would spew shrapnel if activated. I wasn’t too concerned with a four year old car used up north but would not have otherwise hesitated to unplug the dang thing.

Subaru just sent me the recall notice. I was surprised, too, that it took so long for them to acknowledge the problem.