Tips for Disabling an Airbag Control Module
There are several circumstances in which you may need to turn off or disable your car's airbag control module. You may need to replace the airbag if it is damaged in an accident or you may want to turn it off to put a child’s car seat in the front seat. Disabling the airbag is not hard but you need to be careful as it can be dangerous. You should only disable the airbag if it is a danger to the person sitting in the seat. These are important safety devices and can help prevent injuries during an accident.
Why Disable the Airbags
There are several reasons why you may need to disable the airbags. Airbags are designed to work effectively for individuals of a specific size and have been known to cause serious harm or even death to small children, small women and other individuals sitting in the front seat. They are only meant to go off when hit from the front or back but sometimes will deploy when the car is rolled. There are several instances in which it is safer to turn off the airbag.
Eliminate the Power
You want to get rid of any of the voltage that is in the airbag system. It is best to disconnect the battery and let it sit unconnected for several minutes. This will drain any of the voltage out of the system. The module works through the electrical system as it checks itself for faults. You can actually electrocute yourself or at least give yourself a nasty shock if there is power in the system and you touch the wrong wire. By disconnecting the battery and then hooking it up again you are resetting the module. There is more involved in disabling the system.
Accessing the Module
The module can be difficult to get to as it normally is found underneath the seat in the passenger area. Older cars will have three different sensors that can deploy the airbag. There are several different types of sensors. To make sure the airbags do not deploy when the sensors go off you want to disable the module device that passes the message from the sensor to the airbag. You will probably need to take out either the passenger seat or the driver’s seat depending on the location of the control module. You may need a special tool to take out the seat though normally a socket wrench can do the trick. There is normally a flap in the carpet that will expose the control module. This flap makes it very easy so you do not need to rip up any of the carpeting.
To actually disable the control module you will need to unharness the control module and find the correct tab. On many modules you will need to push down on a tab to release a harness. On some modules this is yellow while others it can be different colors. Check your car manual about which one you need to disable. You may need some additional power to unhook it and a flathead screwdriver can do the trick. Without the harness on the module if the sensor should go off the harness is no longer connected and will not deploy the airbag.