Everything in a used car needs to be in working condition, just as they are in new cars. Air bags are safety devices that protect the a vehicle's occupants in the event of an accident. During a collision, the airbags are supposed to inflate instantly to cushion the occupants. When purchasing a used car, make sure the airbags are working.
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Look at your dashboard when you start the car. You should see the "SRS" symbol illuminate, then go out in a few seconds.
Check the history of the car at a company such as carfax.com (see Resources). Look for a history of crashes, repairs or flood damage.
Have your used car checked by an independent mechanic. He will check the airbags electronically to determine if they are working correctly.
Determine if the car was previously recalled, by visiting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website (see Resources). Make sure you are not driving a car that was recalled due to defective airbags.
Inspect the airbag cover. The original covers should have "SRS" or "S/R" stamped on them. If the airbags where replaced they may not have those symbols.
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