Car owners must obtain permission from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration before deactivating a manufacturer-installed air bag. If the manufacturer makes an on-off switch, installing the switch is preferable to completely deactivating the air bag. This allows the next owner of the car to turn the air bag back on instead of paying for reconnection.Continue Reading
The NHTSA only approves deactivation if the car owner can prove one of four conditions. If the vehicle does not have a back seat large enough to accommodate a child safety seat, the passenger side air bag may be deactivated. The car owner may also deactivate the passenger side air bag if a child under 12 years old must sit in the front seat due to a medical condition that requires the driver's constant attention. The driver side air bag may be deactivated if the driver sits within a few inches of the steering wheel or has a medical condition that makes it unsafe for the airbag to deploy.
Receiving NHTSA permission does not guarantee that a particular auto shop agrees to deactivate a customer's air bags. Car owners should call local repair shops and dealerships to find out which ones perform air bag disconnection or on-off switch installation.Learn more about Car Parts & Maintenance