So we've got this technical article online that shows you how to remove an air bag. A lot of people seem to think it's a good idea, and several people have offered suggestions to improve post-airbag life with your car. We figured it was time to gather all that information in one place, so here you go: the air bag archive.
A lot of you are coming here for help with airbags installed on cars nothing like the one we disarmed in our technical article. This is fine, but please understand that your car may differ substantially from ours. You probably ought to check with a factory service manual before proceeding.
It's also worth noting that airbag technology has changed over the years. Our car had one of the old "where did my head go" full-force bags that were well-known to kill smaller individuals. Newer cars have what they call "depowered" airbags that do not inflate with the same level of force. In concert with these depowered airbags, the seatbelts are designed to allow a certain amount of movement so that you hit the airbag with less force. Disarming this type of airbag could be disastrous: you would "move" straight into your steering wheel. So, please consider the type of airbag your vehicle has before deciding to disarm it. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide for yourself whether to override your car's safety features; please do not interpret anything here as gospel coz it's nothing but opinion.
If you'd like to make a Cave Drawing of your own, please report to the Main Cave.
From Andy Emfour on 28 July 2003:
Stumbled upon this site while researching the issue.
Hop it's of help 2 U guys.
From Pauli Carnes on 28 April 2003:
This short little old lady wants to know if you can instruct her
auto-mechanic-minded son on how to disarm the airbag in her
recently-purchased 1994 Lincoln Town Car. Thanks in advance for any
assistance you can offer. Bless your day.
Each car is different, so I don't know the exact procedure for yours. But the service manuals all include instructions for disarming airbags, as it is necessary for some service procedures. Have your son pick up a Haynes or Chilton's manual for your Lincoln at a parts store, and it'll be in there.
From Craig Belte on 4 March 2003:
Nice web site, interesting and informative.
I noticed your white Charger, very nice.
One of my first cars was a 1968 Dodge
Charger, 383, 340hp, Hurst 4 sp on floor. Nice
car. Now I wish I had kept it.
I have a question. My son just recently skidded off
an icy road with the 2001 Ford F-150, into a ditch,
and the air bags were deployed. I asked the Ford
dealer body shop not to replace the air bags. They
said that they had to, not replacing them would be
illegal. How can that be? Do you have any information
on this? Is one "forced by law or regulation" to replace
a broken part even if one does not want to?
Cost to replace the two air bags is about
$1400.00, with labor, a cost which I would
like to avoid.
Thanks if advance for any information you
might have on this.
Yeah, the body shop isn't allowed to disable a safety device. However, YOU can do what you want. Perhaps you can persuade them to not fix the airbags, and you can install your own blank-off cover.
From Beeline Specialty Products on 6 January 2003:
Just wanted to thank you for the information on your website I found a couple of
years ago. I put a 3.5 ohm resistor in the circuit and the computer knows no
difference that the airbag is now removed from the circuit. I did examine the
design, and if you were to design a bracket to hold 4 threaded inserts, and fasten
the cover to it, then the airbag could be discarded altogether. This is easier said
than done however, due to the complexity needed to fasten the cover to the bracket,
which includes the horn switches. I have decided to leave it alone, as I am not that
ambitious just now. It might be easier to remove the cover, if possible, discharge
the air bag, then put the cover back on. I would have to examine it more closely
before doing such a drastic measure.
Hey, glad it worked for you!
From Carlyn Mccamon on 19 December 2002:
i am interrested in removing my passenger side air bag in my 98 toyota 4runner. my 9
year old daughter takes resident in the passenger seat and i am looking for info. i
would like to keep the drivers side active and disable passenger and keep the air bag
light from staying on. any updated resistor value would be of great assistance.
You may be eligible for an official disarm switch from the NHTSA.
From Chad Huffman on 27 November 2002:
There is a company called Hicks Air Bag Covers (autoairbags.com or something
like that). You can do a search for "air bag covers" in yahoo and it will
show up. For like $75 you can get replacement covers for most cars
That's definitely easier than making your own!
From Bend Bumper Man on 26 November 2002:
You could try soaking the air bag in a pail of water, but this would probably
destroy your radio controls. Seriously, obtain a deployed air bag module from
a wreck, don't tell the wrecking yard what you're going to do, they make good
money selling good bags. Tell them your kid needs it for a project or safety
display at school.
Now, if you are real good, and have access to the required materials, you can
repair, re-texture, and repaint the dead airbag to look as good as new, you
can even remove the SRS ( supplemental restraint system ) and air bag
lettering so as not to be trying to fool yourself. An alternative is to fine
a specialist in automotive plastics repair, such as a bumper cover recycler
as they are capable of making these repairs for you. If you find someone to
repair it they will probably have you sign a disclaimer noting that it is
non-functional. You coulg try telling them you are making a clock to hang on
your wall, and want to install the clock in the air bag door.
I have disabled the air bag in my off-road rig because you do not want it
going off while manuvering a 300 foot cliff because you bounced off a rock a
little too hard.
This is doable at a very modest expense.
Questions? E-mail me at email@example.com
Very interesting. Nice craftsmanship. Maybe you should sell 'em.
From David Mcwatty on 21 November 2002:
where do you install the resistor to put out the light???? across the fuse
Across the connector, where it used to plug into the air bag.
From John Clark on 10 July 2002:
I am reading your article at
Someone told me if you disconnect an airbag that it will adversely affect
the computer diagnostic system of your car and adversely affect engine
performanc unless you purchase a special adaptor which is placed on the end
of the airbag connector(in other works, the onboard computer gets confused
when the airbag is disconnected and you have to trick it into thinking one
is connected or it will someone cause other problems for your car). I asked
someone else this and they thought this idea was crazy. What do you know
about this? Any help would be appreciated since I plan to disconnect my
The first someone is crazy. There's no reason for the engine management system to care what's going on with the airbag.
From Jason the Firefighter on 5 June 2002:
Maybe you can help me out here. Im a firefighter and I was told that if I
was to disconnect the pos. and neg. batt. cables and connect them together
that this would drain the capacitors, is there any truth to this. Also I was
wondering for a side impact bag or roof bag, if I were to expose the bag and
the wires could the wires be cut without activating the bag. Any feed back
would be greatly appreciated.
Well, I don't want you trusting your life and the lives of others on my non-expert say-so. I'd suggest contacting a couple of the auto manufacturers, who probably have tons of information for guys like you. Meanwhile, I can't imagine that touching the battery cables to discharge a capacitor can be a good idea in an emergency situation. You never know what may be leaking.
From Emmy Hockett on 21 May 2002:
I am not able to copy and paste or to print from navigator your article
with pictures on disabling an air bag, can you send the info to me as an
email attachment? I can get the pictures out of my browsers cache.
somewhere in Nevada
I really don't have time for that sort of thing; if you don't know how to save a webpage to your hard drive then I don't have the time to teach you. For a printout, open the page in Netscape, and click the print options for no background and text in black. Good luck.
From Nick Willoughby on 28 February 2002:
hi... i searched and searched and finally i found your article 'disarming an air bag'
i'm writing just to check that your instructions will apply to my ford focus as it's
not something i want to do unless i'm pretty sure i'm not going to have an unwanted
explosion!....the other thing is i'd like to disarm the passenger one too...anything
else i should know?...i guess i can locate the relative circuit but will it be yellow
as in your description?....my own thoughts were that by just removing the fuse
perhaps that would prevent it from going off at least?...anyway thanks again for your
article. my email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
nick from canada.
Nick, please don't accept my disarming an airbag article as gospel for your car. My car was a 1993 Pontiac Bonneville, a car built 10 years ago, by a different manufacturer, using older airbag technology. Your car could very well be totally different. You should find a service manual for your car -- a Ford dealer can get them, or there might be aftermarket ones too. These manuals usually discuss disarming airbags because it's necessary for certain service tasks.
From Bob Morrow on 19 January 2002:
I defused my 2001 Ford airbag (or more accurately, airbomb) quite
easily. Thanks to a Ford service CD-ROM that I bought on E-Bay for $12, I
found that there is such a thing as an "airbag service tool". Further
digging on the CD told me that that "service tool" is nothing more than a
two-ohm resistor. Cool! I went to Radio Shack, ordered a pack of two-ohm
resistors, and then disconnected each airbomb & inserted the resistor
across the two wires on the vehicle-side of the wiring harness. Reconnect
the battery, start the van & no airbomb idiot light! The nice thing about
this is it is 100% reversible, and easily.
It was a 2001 Ford E-150 full-size cargo van.
Thanks Bob! Now all you Ford people pestering us about how to defuse your airbags, there you go.
From Lindsay Nakashima on 8 October 2001:
I have a '98 S10 in which I replaced the driver side bucket seat. The
replacement seat from a Blazer did not have the connector that goes into the
airbag switch, so my air bag light is on.
The S10 (Helms) shop manual say the voltage should be less than 10 v for the
light to go off.
Radio Shack has either a 2 ohm and 3.9 ohm 1/2-watt carbon resistors -
nothing closer to 3 ohms.
Which do I get?
Thank you for your help.
Frankly, I'd get a pair of pliers and just pull the bulb.
From Gerry on East End Ave on 5 October 2001:
Re: Killing the Air Bag Light
Have you considered: Drilling a tiny hole through the clear plastic dash
cover sheet and into the bulb itself. For a complete job vacuum up the
Is that really easier than just pulling the light bulb out?
From Andy Locs on 7 July 2001:
looking for a walk through repair for reseting airbag light on a 1990 944 s2
Dunno. Have you joined the 944 list at Rennlist?
Someone on there can probably tell you what to do.
From Fitzgerald Sinclair on 6 March 2001:
Havent you ever heard of Penntack Enterprises 3056963666. Thye should
have covers for your car at a cost of $75 each
Not before just now! Thanks for the tip!