Deactivate airbags?

GoodGuyD

2016 CX-5 GT AWD (Mousse)
Hey folks,

Out of curiosity, I'm looking to see of it's possible to disconnect all airbags in the car (lateral, steering, etc.). Would that be a fuse or a plug somewhere?

Thanks.
 
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2016.5 CX-5 GT AWD titanium/black 2016 Miata Club ST MT white
Why in the world would you want to do this? Imagine getting into an accident with all the airbags disabled! Even if you weren't killed or horribly injured, what would your insurance company think of this folly?
 

GoodGuyD

2016 CX-5 GT AWD (Mousse)
Yup. Your insurance company would walk away from that as fast as they could.
Your coverage would be null and void if you have an accident.

But if you don't damage others property (car, house, public goods) and have no debt on the car, I'm thinking you'd be fine right?
 
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Ottawa, Ontario
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17 Mazda 6 GT
But if you don't damage others property (car, house, public goods) and have no debt on the car, I'm thinking you'd be fine right?
Would you want to take that risk, driving without insurance?
The chances of having a bad accident with injuries and property damage is low, but not zero.
There's no predicting unfortunately. Accidents can and do happen.
 

HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
First off, this only makes a superficial glimmer of sense if you have dropped collision coverage. You wouldn't consider this otherwise, I assume, but you didn't mention that.

I suppose if the vehicle is old and collision coverage has been dropped, you might save some money in a low speed collision with the air bags deactivated. A 2016 CX-5 GT AWD with a value in roughly the $10,000 - $20,000 US range depending on mileage wouldn't ordinarily go without collision coverage. Of course if you've got a couple of teenagers or had several claims already and your collision premium is through the roof and beyond affordability, I suppose you might take that risk. But would you want to deactivate the aribags if you're already in a high risk category? If you're just being a cheapskate then it looks like pennywise and pound foolish.

I suppose If you rammed something at 10 mph without incurring any liability loss and without the airbags deploying you might get away with $5,000 in repair costs. If the airbags deployed the vehicle would certainly be totaled. In fact, $30,000+ market value vehicles are almost certainly totaled after airbag deployment. You'd want to be wearing your shoulder harness of course so as not to bounce your head off the steering wheel.

But the circumstances where this would work out are very narrow. Sans collision coverage, the speed would have to be fast enough where the bags would have otherwise deployed but slow enough where the cost of repairs do not exceed the vehicles value. The risk/reward proposition does not look very good relative to the possibility of a higher speed accident where the airbags might save life or limb.

As to whether deactivating the airbags would void a liability-only coverage you'd have to take that up with the insurance carrier. I'm not sure why they would care. Whether the airbags deploy or not wouldn't make any difference in their claim payments to other parties.

If you are contemplating no insurance at all, there are not many jurisdictions in the industrialized world where liability coverage is not required by law not to mention the potentially catastrophic impact to your personal finances.
 
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GoodGuyD

2016 CX-5 GT AWD (Mousse)
Would you want to take that risk, driving without insurance?
The chances of having a bad accident with injuries and property damage is low, but not zero.
There's no predicting unfortunately. Accidents can and do happen.
First off, this only makes a superficial glimmer of sense if you have dropped collision coverage. You wouldn't consider this otherwise, I assume, but you didn't mention that.

I suppose if the vehicle is old and collision coverage has been dropped, you might save some money in a low speed collision with the air bags deactivated. A 2016 CX-5 GT AWD with a value in roughly the $10,000 - $20,000 US range depending on mileage wouldn't ordinarily go without collision coverage. Of course if you've got a couple of teenagers or had several claims already and your collision premium is through the roof and beyond affordability, I suppose you might take that risk. But would you want to deactivate the aribags if you're already in a high risk category? If you're just being a cheapskate then it looks like pennywise and pound foolish.

I suppose If you rammed something at 10 mph without incurring any liability loss and without the airbags deploying you might get away with $5,000 in repair costs. If the airbags deployed the vehicle would certainly be totaled. In fact, $30,000+ market value vehicles are almost certainly totaled after airbag deployment. You'd want to be wearing your shoulder harness of course so as not to bounce your head off the steering wheel.

But the circumstances where this would work out are very narrow. Sans collision coverage, the speed would have to be fast enough where the bags would have otherwise deploy but slow enough where the cost of repairs do not exceed the vehicles value. The risk/reward proposition does not look very good relative to the possibility of a higher speed accident where the airbags might save life or limb.

As to whether deactivating the airbags would void a liability-only coverage you'd have to take that up with the insurance carrier. I'm not sure why they would care. Whether the airbags deploy or not wouldn't make any difference in their claim payments to other parties.

Yes, but I am certainly not asking this to save money, i would firstly pay the car off and not hit anything that is anybody's property, like a tree. But I got my answer. Thanks!
 

HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
Yes, but I am certainly not asking this to save money, i would firstly pay the car off and not hit anything that is anybody's property, like a tree. But I got my answer. Thanks!
Just curious, why in God's name would you deactivate airbags if it's not to potentially save money?!
 

sm1ke

Work In Progress..
Moderator
Contributor
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Canada
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'18 CX-9 Signature
Just curious, why in God's name would you deactivate airbags if it's not to potentially save money?!

Destruction derby vehicle, non-street legal race/track car maybe? Also possible that the driver/passenger isn't able to sit far enough away from the airbag due to a medical/physical condition. No idea, really.. just trying to think outside the box.

In any case, it turns out that if you're in Canada, you can apply for an airbag on/off switch through Transport Canada. If approved, you can take it to a shop to have the work done, but they have the right to turn you away. If they do agree to install the switch, you have to sign something that states that they will not be held liable. Maybe something like this exists in the US too?
 
To be fair, I have had one instance where I have had to deactivate the curtain airbags on my ctsv wagon by pulling the fuse.

The ctsv wagon, sedan, and camaro have had several instances of a curtain airbag deploying during autocross and at track sessions. Something to do with quick changes in direction and the rollover sensor calibration that makes the car think it’s about to tip. So for that reason a lot of the ctsv guys pull the airbag fuse when headed to the track.

I pulled the curtain airbag fuse after much deliberation prior to a road rally through the mountains in my Cadillac. With the type of aggressive driving and the fear of what would happen if an airbag went off in my ear mid-corner, I figured the risk of rolling the car and no curtain bags was worth it. Fuse went right back in once we were done.

I know it’s really not pertinent to OP, but just an example of a weird situation in which one might want to deactivate an airbag
 

HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
Destruction derby vehicle, non-street legal race/track car maybe? Also possible that the driver/passenger isn't able to sit far enough away from the airbag due to a medical/physical condition. No idea, really.. just trying to think outside the box.

In any case, it turns out that if you're in Canada, you can apply for an airbag on/off switch through Transport Canada. If approved, you can take it to a shop to have the work done, but they have the right to turn you away. If they do agree to install the switch, you have to sign something that states that they will not be held liable. Maybe something like this exists in the US too?
I don't think so on the US liability coverage. The OP says he plans to pay off the car and not hit anybody or anything which seems to suggest he does not need such coverage. There is a state or two that lets you go without liability coverage if you post a bond or some such qualification.

As for getting an airbag waiver for an on/off switch in the US, you can apply to the NHTSA on similar terms as you describe for Canada, a medical exemption or if you cannot find a seating position more than 10" from the steering wheel.


One can envision all kinds of scenarios why some would want to turn them off, logical or illogical, all the way down to resentment toward the so-called nanny state as we saw when seatbelts were first introduced, but its hard to fully answer a question if you don't know the rationale. Paying the car off as a factor begs questions.
 
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HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
I pulled the curtain airbag fuse after much deliberation prior to a road rally through the mountains in my Cadillac. With the type of aggressive driving and the fear of what would happen if an airbag went off in my ear mid-corner.
Consider auto reviewer aggresive driving, pushing cars to and beyond their handling limits.

You've got stuff like Car & Driver's tests in the following video, skid pad test at 3:00, slalom at 4:08, high speed oval at 8:35


Consumer Reports emergency avoidance manuever through cones is similar to the C&D slalom.


In fact, CR said the following in testing a 2020 CX-5 Touring with the 2.5L normally aspirated:

"It also acquitted itself well in our lane-change avoidance maneuver, posting a speed of 54 mph and instilling confidence among our drivers. The fact that it momentarily lifted an inside rear wheel through the course wasn’t even felt by the driver and we didn't deem it alarming."

Having read many car reviews over many years, I've never seen spontaneous airbag deployment reported under this aggressive driving. I wouldn't be concerned about it in road rally driving. Of course if one drives in a road rally as one would in an autocross controlled environment one might need those airbags. ;)
 
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2016.5 CX-5 GT AWD titanium/black 2016 Miata Club ST MT white
But if you don't damage others property (car, house, public goods) and have no debt on the car, I'm thinking you'd be fine right?

We'd be fine, yes. Would you be fine? That all depends on how bad your accident turned out to be.

Fine? Maybe. Injured? Maybe. Killed? Maybe.

Yes, but I am certainly not asking this to save money, i would firstly pay the car off and not hit anything that is anybody's property, like a tree. But I got my answer. Thanks!

Thanks for your help, but you are thinking too much outside of the box. I do appreciate your knowledge though!

Several folks here have replied to your question. How about returning the favor and answer the question that everyone is asking of you?

Why would you want to drive around with your airbags deactivated?
 

GoodGuyD

2016 CX-5 GT AWD (Mousse)
We'd be fine, yes. Would you be fine? That all depends on how bad your accident turned out to be.

Fine? Maybe. Injured? Maybe. Killed? Maybe.





Several folks here have replied to your question. How about returning the favor and answer the question that everyone is asking of you?

Why would you want to drive around with your airbags deactivated?
I don't want to alarm anybody with the answer though. Just looking at the feasibility of the thing, and insurance considerations after the attempt, glad that it turned into an informative discussion!
 

HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
I don't want to alarm anybody with the answer though. Just looking at the feasibility of the thing, and insurance considerations after the attempt, glad that it turned into an informative discussion!
I figured it out! You're going ram your ex-wife and don't want to risk totaling the car! ;)
 
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