Airbags do a great job of keeping us safe, so it’s only fair to repay the favour. Here, we’ll talk you through some tips on preventing airbag theft.
First things first…
Is airbag theft a big problem?
In terms of raw numbers, airbags are stolen a lot less often than catalytic converters. However, it can be a lot more dangerous for the victim. That’s because, in both cases, you may not even know the part has been stolen.
Driving without a catalytic converter is bad for the environment (and therefore illegal). But driving without an airbag increases your chances of serious injury or death.
Why are people stealing airbags?
To sell on. Disruption to supply chains is creating greater demands for car parts, so criminals gangs are focusing in on car crime. Some garages will pay £200-£500 for a stolen airbag.
How long does it take to steal an airbag?
An experienced thief can have your airbag away in around 6-8 minutes.
Which models are most at risk of airbag theft?
Airbags are manufacturer specific. That’s to say, you can’t put any old airbag in any old car. Thieves will therefore want to target:
- Airbags from very common models that they can expect to sell on.
- Airbags they already know there’s a demand for – the more expensive the better.
Reportedly, some thefts are being carried out ‘to order’ on behalf of garages looking for a particular type of airbag. This suggests the latter option is probably more popular.
How do I keep my airbag safe from thieves?
- Get a steering lock. This is a visual deterrent that will often put thieves off just by being there. Check out our guide to steering locks and make a wise investment.
- If you can’t park in a garage (which is probably the best way of preventing airbag theft), choose somewhere well-lit, preferably in view of a camera.
- Only use reputable garages. As well as buying stolen airbags, it’s not unheard of for dodgy repair shops to steal airbags themselves, simply removing them in the course of doing other work.
What should I do if my airbag is stolen?
As with any crime, you should call the police, report what’s happened and get a crime reference number. You’ll also need to contact your insurer to get things moving with your claim (assuming you’re on a policy like ours which covers theft).
Taking as many pictures as you can will be helpful, both for the police and your insurance claim.
Can I still drive my car if my airbag has been stolen?
While it’s obviously a risk to your safety, there’s nothing to say you can’t legally drive without an airbag installed. Of course, not all thieves are subtle about their work. Some simply rip the airbag system right out, damaging the car – or even removing the steering wheel altogether. In that case, you may not be able to use their car at all until repairs are done.
Where can I find more car security tips?
We’ve got that covered. Checkout these pieces:
- Steering wheel locks.
- Safe parking.
- Protecting catalytic converters.
- Apple tags.
- Recovering stolen cars.
- Conviction rates.
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