Don’t Drive That Car! By Eric Peters

Like every other car component and parts, air bags get old and defective. Unlike many other components and parts, an old, defective airbag can kill you, but they’re very expensive to replace, sometimes more than the value of the car. From Eric Peters at

You may have heard about BMW – not the government – urging that people who own certain BMW models not drive them. BMW being more concerned about “safety,” apparently, than the government that mandated air bags – which can and have killed.

The models BMW urges people not drive include the 3 and 5 Series sedans as well as X5 crossovers made circa 2000-2006 that were originally equipped with air bags made by  Takata that turned out to be more likely than usually to kill – and did.

And will, again.

There are a number of interesting things to ponder here besides the curious indifference of the government to the danger posed by the air bags it mandated – and not just the ones that turned out to be defective. 

Air bags – the various components that make up the system, including sensors and electrical connections – inevitably, unavoidably degrade over time. Just like everything else. Drive belts and hoses eventually need to replaced. It is why there are recommended service intervals that are wise to heed because if you don’t a belt will inevitably fray and fail – just as a hose will inevitably leak – leaving you stuck.

But when airbags fail, they can leave you dead.

The government admits it – even as it does nothing to ameliorate it beyond issuing blase voluntary recalls.

Sophie Shulman, who is the deputy director of the federal regulatory apparat that forced everyone who buys a new car to sit in front of an explosive device when they drive it (or ride in it, if you’re a front seat passenger) says: “If you have a model year 2000-2006 BMW with a recalled Takata air bag, get it repaired immediately – for free. These inflators are two decades old now and, with every day that passes, they become even more dangerous as they can rupture even in a minor crash.”

Italics added.

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