Once an airbag has deployed, you may need a new airbag cover replacement. The airbag cover is the outer packaging that contains the airbag, and adds some aesthetic beauty to the interior of your vehicle. It is possible to fix a blown airbag cover, but you will need some knowledge of thermoplastic welding and vehicle interior upholstering.
Tools and Materials Needed:
- Thermoplastic welding gun
- Thermoplastic welding rods
- Welding tips
- Thermoplastic adhesive (optional)
- Vehicle repair manual (not the owner's manual)
- Thermoplastic primer
- Thermoplastic paint
There are several types of airbags that may be installed in your particular vehicle. Each type of airbag being used will require a specialized airbag cover, or other enclosure. The most common types are the frontal airbags. The airbag that protects the driver is located within the steering wheel. The airbag cover will have the vehicle manufacturer's logo and SRS (Safety Restraint System) markings on it. The airbag that protects the passenger is typically placed within the dash. Side airbags are smaller versions of the frontal ones, and are stored in the seatback, doors, side-posts or roof.
Step 1: Removing the Blown Airbag Cover
There is not a standard airbag cover. As such, airbag cover removal instructions will vary depending on vehicle make and model. For instance, the driver's airbag could be a 3 or 4 spoke design, and could be of the single or dual stage variety. It is best to refer to the specific vehicle repair manual for detailed instructions on airbag cover removal.
Step 2: Repairing the Airbag Cover
Once the airbag cover has been removed, squeeze the sides together so the seams are meeting. If it has been awhile since the blow out, you may need to heat the cover in order to be able to squeeze it together. Using tape, tape across the seams (on the inside of the cover) to ensure they do not separate. Either apply the adhesive, or perform the thermoplastic welding to the exposed seams on the front of the airbag cover. Remove the tape, and weld or apply adhesive to the seam on the inside. Once the seams have been mended, clean any residual materials from the airbag cover, and tape over the emblem (if required).
Step 3: Painting the Airbag Cover
Apply the thermoplastic primer in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, and allow to dry. Following the instructions supplied with the thermoplastic paint, paint the airbag cover. Allow the paint to dry, and inspect the airbag cover. Apply a second coat of paint if necessary to hide the repaired seams. Once the painting is complete, remove the tape from the emblem (if used), and re-install the airbag cover using the instructions from the repair manual.
Repairing an airbag cover requires specialized materials. Repairs may not be necessary, because if any of the components or modules are inoperable or questionable, then they must be replaced. When purchasing steering wheel airbags and components, a new airbag cover is typically included.