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The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars - Autos - Nairaland

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The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by BizBooks(m): 12:04pm On Feb 20, 2012
The longer I stay on Nairaland, the clearer it becomes that a lot of Nigerians do not realize what they are getting when they buy a tokunbo car from an un-reputable dealer. We have talked at length about rampant odometer roll backs and other shady activities. Today, I will like to talk about non-working air bags.

It is a well known fact that a majority of tokunbo cars brought into Nigeria are salvage or “accidented cars”. Since air bags are designed to deploy even in minor accidents, we can safely assume that all those “accidented” cars brought into Nigeria had deployed air bags at the time of accident. The question now is this: do the shippers of “accidented” cars repair the air bags before selling them to un-suspecting buyers? The short answer is “No” in most cases. As I said earlier, I thought everybody knew this. But since that appears not to be the case, let me explain further.

It is very expensive to repair a deployed air bag. It can cost anywhere from $1000 to $1500 depending on the model of your car (luxury cars cost much more). Since dealers of salvage cars are extremely profit-conscious, you can see why it is not in their interest to fix the air bags despite it’s crucial importance to the safety and well-being of the driver. They will rather repair the cosmetic damages only. Air bags by their very nature are hardly re-usable as they work just once. During deployment, a lot of chemical processes take place. So it requires a trained technician to re-activate the chemical processes and inflation mechanism.

Usually when an air bag is defective for one reason or the other, the air bag light stays on. If you are wondering why the salvage tokunbo cars you see in Nigeria do not have their air bag lights on, the answer is simple: they are manually turned off by the dealers so buyers will not know. In the US, it is illegal to turn off an air bag light and no reputable mechanic will do so for fear of losing his license. But in Nigeria, anything goes.

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to tell whether your air bag is working or not. To be on the safe side, assume it is not and drive accordingly. Don’t drive at high speeds hoping that your air bag will save you in an accident, it may not, even if you believe your car is not a salvage. If you have been involved in an accident at speeds as low as 30 mp/h (around 50 km/h) and your air bag did not deploy, have it checked. It may not be working in the first place.

References:

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbag
2. http://www.carsdirect.com/car-safety/airbag-repair-costs-prices-for-common-problems
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by Emperoh(m): 12:41pm On Feb 20, 2012
At the start of the ignition, not starting the car. . . .if th airbag light does not illuminate,
then your airbag maybe gone
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by chainy: 12:49pm On Feb 20, 2012
@ BIZBOOK, I LIKE THIS. MANY THANKS YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS ARE USUALLY HEAD NODDING.

NOW I LIKE THAT YOU INVESTIGATE FOR ME TOYOTA HYLANDER 2005, THREE ROW SEAT. I DONT MIND WITH IGNORABLE DEFECTS AND LETS DEAL.

THANKS
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by Piedpiper(m): 12:51pm On Feb 20, 2012
@ Bizzy
Reach out and touch me ! grin

@Emperoh
True talk brother. wink

@ all
Shine your eyes and do a thorough inspection. cheesy
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by BizBooks(m): 4:32pm On Feb 20, 2012
@The Piper,

You have mail.
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by Osama10(m): 4:51pm On Feb 20, 2012
Nice one but a lot of people in naija don't seem to care about it.
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by Exponental(m): 4:56pm On Feb 20, 2012
I had always wondered why people buy cars abroad rather than d plenty helpless cars for sale. Only to conclude dat dealers make more gains on accidented ones.
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by BizBooks(m): 5:08pm On Feb 20, 2012
Osama10:

Nice one but a lot of people in naija don't seem to care about it.

They don't care maybe because they are not aware. Unlike a CD for instance which stops playing when defective, you may not know if your air bag is not working.
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by Vickivicki(m): 5:16pm On Feb 20, 2012
@poster

Many thanks.
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by eghuan1(m): 5:17pm On Feb 20, 2012
I don't think this ur view is entirely true. I make this statement on the FACT that in december last year, my cousin had an accident with his toyota corrola 1998 version which was bought in 2006. The truth is that the airbag indicator has been flashing for the last 2yrs and when he had the accident, the airbag still deployed and the car had been involved in many small small accidents before.
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by unphilaz(m): 5:32pm On Feb 20, 2012
thanks poster, this is an added reason why i am not going for dem tokumbo, waiting for a brand new "tear rubber". waiting, waiting,
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by drhappy(m): 5:39pm On Feb 20, 2012
Some of the assertions are not absolutely correct. You can know if your airbags are intact at any given point in time. When you switch on your engine, the airbag's indicator light flickers temporarily and goes off just like the engine's indicator light.
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by kbdrim(m): 5:39pm On Feb 20, 2012
in order words buy your second hand vehicles from me ;d ;d
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by dagboss(m): 5:49pm On Feb 20, 2012
Well nice one Mr BizBooks, I hope anybody relying on airbags whether in brand new cars or tokunbo and makes unreasonable speed is just risking his life for nothing. As for me the only brand new car among the few ones I have which still has the airbag intact (I believe) I hardly make 120km on it and any occasion I get to that speed level I always remember my family I left back home grin grin grin. So please forget about working airbags or not caution is the right word. My own view pls.
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by Legitimate: 5:59pm On Feb 20, 2012
Nice one there. This a an eye opener to many people
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by sheyee(m): 6:06pm On Feb 20, 2012
what a eye opener! thanks @ poster. Make God do better money make man stop all this Tokunbo cars jare
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by BizBooks(m): 6:20pm On Feb 20, 2012
drhappy:

Some of the assertions are not absolutely correct. You can know if your airbags are intact at any given point in time. When you switch on your engine, the airbag's indicator light flickers temporarily and goes off just like the engine's indicator light.

Relying on the flickering air bag light maybe a mistake. The only way to know for sure if your air bag is working is to hit a fixed object or another car at speed and see if it deploys. Since this is an unrealistic way to test an air bag's functionality, one can safely say as I have said that there is no easy way to test an air bag.

The auto section is filled with used cars purporting to include air bags. Since we know that most of those claims are likely to be untrue, the moral of this thread thus is: drive with care even if you think your air bag is fine.
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by adefash(m): 6:28pm On Feb 20, 2012
The issue is even brand new cars have defected aur bags.a friend's car(honda city, cha cha!) hit a statinary car.@60km/h the,the aur bag did not come out.thank god he had his seat belt worn,
if u'r buyin tokunbo car dont expect everything to be functionin.anypart that is not functionin go and fix it.it is called fairly used.
when air bag of new cars are not reliable,it is used ones that one will be complaining of.
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by oladayo042: 6:57pm On Feb 20, 2012
Thanks man.

1 Like

Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by dagboss(m): 7:08pm On Feb 20, 2012
Too bad since there is no way of testing if airbags are active, but one young man did test his own airbags in
His 2003 (i suppose) Toyota Highlander by ramming it into the back of my Mazda MPV barely two weeks old then. His two front airbags Deployed effectively even though he was on say like 60km/hr funny enough he was with his about 5year old boy. That was the first time I was seeing how an airbag explodes, it was bringing out some white powdery substance, the guy was confused I had to tell him to get the hell out of the car together with his son to avoid being choked before I dragged him to Gowon Estate Police station to report and formalize whatever agreement we reached. The operative word is don't depend on any airbag and start driving like a Formular One driver.

1 Like

Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by howfar2: 7:12pm On Feb 20, 2012
A buyer needs to know the history of a car before he or she starts to negotiate, sincerely dealing with Nigerian auto dealers can be a real problem and that is why i do go to buy my cars directly.Never allow the beauty of the car to think for you.
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by BizBooks(m): 7:26pm On Feb 20, 2012
dagboss:

. . . .His two front airbags Deployed effectively even though he was on say like 60km/hr. . . .

Most airbags are designed to deploy at impacts equaling 50 km/h or greater. So the threshold was met in that instance.

dagboss:

. . . .That was the first time I was seeing how an airbag explodes, it was bringing out some white powdery substance. . . .

The powdery substance is actually talcum powder or other similar substance. Here's Wikipedia explanation of the airbag deployment process:

"A chemical reaction produces a burst of nitrogen to inflate the bag. Once an airbag deploys, deflation begins immediately as the gas escapes through vent(s) in the fabric (or, as it's sometimes called, the cushion) and cools. Deployment is frequently accompanied by the release of dust-like particles, and gases in the vehicle's interior (called effluent). Most of this dust consists of cornstarch, french chalk, or talcum powder, which are used to lubricate the airbag during deployment."
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by kizito96(m): 7:26pm On Feb 20, 2012
Good enlightenment
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by oyewolejos(m): 7:36pm On Feb 20, 2012
BizBooks:

The longer I stay on Nairaland, the clearer it becomes that a lot of Nigerians do not realize what they are getting when they buy a tokunbo car from an un-reputable dealer. We have talked at length about rampant odometer roll backs and other shady activities. Today, I will like to talk about non-working air bags.

It is a well known fact that a majority of tokunbo cars brought into Nigeria are salvage or “accidented cars”. Since air bags are designed to deploy even in minor accidents, we can safely assume that all those “accidented” cars brought into Nigeria had deployed air bags at the time of accident. The question now is this: do the shippers of “accidented” cars repair the air bags before selling them to un-suspecting buyers? The short answer is “No” in most cases. As I said earlier, I thought everybody knew this. But since that appears not to be the case, let me explain further.

It is very expensive to repair a deployed air bag[b]. It can cost anywhere from $1000 to $1500 depending on the model of your car (luxury cars cost much more)[/b]. Since dealers of salvage cars are extremely profit-conscious, you can see why it is not in their interest to fix the air bags despite it’s crucial importance to the safety and well-being of the driver. They will rather repair the cosmetic damages only. Air bags by their very nature are hardly re-usable as they work just once. During deployment, a lot of chemical processes take place. So it requires a trained technician to re-activate the chemical processes and inflation mechanism.

Usually when an air bag is defective for one reason or the other, the air bag light stays on. If you are wondering why the salvage tokunbo cars you see in Nigeria do not have their air bag lights on, the answer is simple: they are manually turned off by the dealers so buyers will not know. In the US, it is illegal to turn off an air bag light and no reputable mechanic will do so for fear of losing his license. But in Nigeria, anything goes.

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to tell whether your air bag is working or not. To be on the safe side, assume it is not and drive accordingly. Don’t drive at high speeds hoping that your air bag will save you in an accident, it may not, even if you believe your car is not a salvage. If you have been involved in an accident at speeds as low as 30 mp/h (around 50 km/h) and your air bag did not deploy, have it checked. It may not be working in the first place.

References:

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbag
2. http://www.carsdirect.com/car-safety/airbag-repair-costs-prices-for-common-problems


In as much as i appreciate your intention i will like to point out the flaws in this post esp the bolded. The prices u quoted are just outrageous. Am a used car dealer also but i don't sell to the Nigerian market. A used car is a used car, u don't expect it to work perfectly. If anybody buys a car a used one for that matter they can take it to a motor shop and checked for any airbag problem. Is not that serious. The problem with Nigerians is that we wanna ride a 2011 car for less than 1.5 million naira so the need for the dealers to sell substandard products to them. Anybody trying to buy a car less than it's value should be ready for the worst
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by styles2009: 7:51pm On Feb 20, 2012
Osama10:

Nice one but a lot of people in naija don't seem to care about it.

I agree, many Nigerian buyers are just concern about , how the body looks like, don't care about engine and accident protection.

Don't try and educate many of them on such issues, they would just throw in crazy experiences from their uncles and grandfathers car bought in 1906 jargons.
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by princeonx: 7:55pm On Feb 20, 2012
@poster:The truth of the whole thing is that Nigerians know about airbags, rolled back mileage, accident cars, flood cars, brand new cars, just name! but when an average Nigerian is set and off to buy a car, he put all those things in second place. First thing he check is how clean/neat the car is! How sound is the engine and the movement, and most of all how much is he getting the car! Give a Nigerian lets say a 2000 Accord leather seat or Camry with a rolledback mileage, accident fixed car that look sharp and neat without airbag for N200-N300 thousand cheaper than the same car without any of those issues but maybe doesn't look as neat and find out which he'll take! safety or no safety! Accident/salvage cars are not as bad as some car dealers especially those that knows nothing about it presents it. if the damage is all the way to the frame, roof, or engine then that's bad. Some of them only need a bomber, grill, and headlights! some only need a fender, traficator, and grill. We call them salvage and all that because the previous owner filled some kind of police or insurance claims to fix it. If the owner decided to fix it out of pocket without the insurance company or police involved me and you will just look at the title and say "yes its clean title" no accident while the said car has been in an accident previously. Am not campaining for accident or rolled back mileage cars but its crazy when you hear people from a country that doesn't produce tire, or had good roads complain about cars that people drive comfortable daily even here in America. You can also deactivate your airbag especially drivers/steering side simply by constantly pushing your horn. I use my horn once or twice in a whole year here in America! now compare that to the number of times drivers push that airbag position in Nigeria. People in Russia and Arab world are busy taking advantage of this so called salvage to replace the older cars they have in their country with cars that are 1, 2, 3 years old while we Nigerians are busy shipping and buying 94/95 model old cars and dumping them in Nigeria. wonder why their parts also sell like hot cake cause they're almost dead even before reaching Nigerian soil. You import 10 of them in a month, another months later 5 of them need new tokumbo (another used) engine or overhauling. I bet you if I drop 10 neat 2008 Camry with 4million miles, no airbags, light accident (bumber, headlights, grill) but the cars start, runs, and drive for $6,000 they will not last a day! those that will buy it will buy them and those that will cry about it will still cry!

1 Like

Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by BizBooks(m): 7:56pm On Feb 20, 2012
oyewolejos:

In as much as i appreciate your intention i will like to point out the flaws in this post esp the bolded. The prices u quoted are just outrageous. . . .

It is not enough to say the prices I quoted are outrageous. You should have given your own estimate of what it costs to replace an airbag. Remember, the $1000 estimate I gave is per airbag. So if the driver and passenger airbags deployed, you are looking at around $2000 to replace both.

An airbag is not something a roadside mechanic can replace. It requires a highly trained technician. A friend of mine was recently given a $2000 estimate to replace the airbag for a 2006 Infiniti FX35.

The larger point I'm trying to make is this: when an insurance company declares a car as salvage, they usually have very good reasons for doing so. So there is nothing like a minor salvage.
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by moremi2008(m): 8:07pm On Feb 20, 2012
I don't think most Nigerians even know what airbags are. Prolly never even seen one before. grin grin grin grin grin
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by BizBooks(m): 8:11pm On Feb 20, 2012
prince_onx:

. . . .Accident/salvage cars are not as bad as some car dealers especially those that knows nothing about it presents it. if the damage is all the way to the frame, roof, or engine then that's bad. Some of them only need a bomber, grill, and headlights! some only need a fender, traficator, and grill. . . .

I don't know how to say this so people will understand. No insurance company will declare a car as salvage due to broken bumper, headlights, grill or any of the items you mentioned above. Remember, before an insurance company marks a car as salvage, they would have sent an insurance adjuster to physically inspect the car and come up with an estimated cost of repair. Again, there is nothing like a minor salvage.

Edmunds.com is an authority in the car industry. Here's what they said about salvage cars:

"When a vehicle has been in an accident and the total damage exceeds a certain percentage of the value of the car (ranging from 75-90 percent), the insurance company will decide that it is not economically feasible to repair it and declares it a "total loss." What happens next varies by state, but in general, the motor vehicle agency will then issue a "salvage certificate" to the car. This means that the car cannot be driven, sold or registered in its current condition."

http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/what-is-a-salvage-title-vehicle.html
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by lagerwhenindoubt(m): 8:17pm On Feb 20, 2012
oyewolejos:

In as much as i appreciate your intention i will like to point out the flaws in this post esp the bolded. The prices u quoted are just outrageous. Am a used car dealer also but i don't sell to the Nigerian market. A used car is a used car, u don't expect it to work perfectly. If anybody buys a car a used one for that matter they can take it to a motor shop and checked  for any airbag problem. Is not that serious. The problem with Nigerians is that we wanna ride a 2011 car for less than 1.5 million naira so the need for the dealers to sell substandard products to them. Anybody trying to buy a car less than it's value should be ready for the worst

It also brings to question the obvious capitalist (greedy/selfish/self-interest) nature of "most" car dealers - used car dealership is not a Charity and it is highly Competitive - sadly very few Nigerian Dealers Home and Abroad have the nuggets to be Principled and Ethical. It is buy Low and Sell High mentality. I have always asked a few I have met why a car from 2001 will still carry a price tag of N1.6 or N1.8 in 2012 WTF!  angry Is it that it is in high demand  - NO!!! and somehow "most" used car dealers have reconciled with the idea that a car with 100k+ mileage is just half-way into its life WTF! angry and N1.6 is a steal for a 2001 vehicle with 173k on the odometer. jeeez!! whatever the case may be, there needs to be better awareness or orientation for potential customers why? as a dealer your level of knowledge is obviously higher and yes you need to make money and quick but give the buyers a clean break. Let them know the true value of what they are getting not selling them a road-kill for the price of a full-size thanksgiving turkey
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by Nobody: 8:43pm On Feb 20, 2012
moremi2008:

I don't think most Nigerians even know what airbags are. Prolly never even seen one before. grin grin grin grin grin

i've seen alot. In hollywood movies tongue
Re: The Hidden Truth About Air Bags In Nigerian Cars by princeonx: 9:13pm On Feb 20, 2012
BizBooks:

I don't know how to say this so people will understand. No insurance company will declare a car as salvage due to broken bumper, headlights, grill or any of the items you mentioned above. Remember, before an insurance company marks a car as salvage, they would have sent an insurance adjuster to physically inspect the car and come up with an estimated cost of repair. Again, there is nothing like a minor salvage.

Edmunds.com is an authority in the car industry. Here's what they said about salvage cars:

"When a vehicle has been in an accident and the total damage exceeds a certain percentage of the value of the car (ranging from [b]75-90 percent)[/b], the insurance company will decide that it is not economically feasible to repair it and declares it a "total loss." What happens next varies by state, but in general, the motor vehicle agency will then issue a "salvage certificate" to the car. This means that the car cannot be driven, sold or registered in its current condition."

http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/what-is-a-salvage-title-vehicle.html
Bros you didn't know how to say the above because you simply don't know period. I have worked for the insurance company before and I buy and fix cars here in the US so I am in a very good position to lecture and correct you on this topic. This was why I said most dealers just sit down and crucify something they know nothing about. I also will not debate back and forth with you on this topic instead I will like you to educate yourself more on it! insurance companies are the worst people you want to deal with if you don't have full (100%) insurance on your car! and you can't carry a 3rd party or liability insurance and expect them to write off a car with a broken bomber. Visit carsmiami, copart, and the insurance auto auction site (iaai) yourself and see cars with less than $200 repaires under salvage. And why in the world will anyone in their right mind be thinking or trying to fix a car that is 75-90% damaged? where will you start? lets not even call that a car anymore cause its now scrape! and is good only for parts!
In a knot shell there is nothing wrong with buying, fixing, or driving a repaired accident car. The question is or rather should be how those repairs are done, inspected, and approved. I have 3 cars that are all fixed now but i can not get a title for them because they have to be inspected by highway trooper in about 3 weeks time. I drive them around on a dealer tag eventhough am not suppose to but this are beautiful cars at about $4-5,000 cheaper. And Americans are the once buying them from me here in America. Yes they were originally salvage cars, we bought the parts and replace the damaged part (Americans don't repair parts/body they replace) take the cars to a body shop and get it painted. Both parts and paints some times even comes direct from the dealers who made the car. And in 3 weeks if anything is found wrong with the repair, you will go and fix it and reschedule for another inspection again! now tell me how many people do that in Nigeria? Sule or emeka will panelbeat the car, put body filler, paint the car, and its good to go. But here this car can sometimes run in the air for over 30minutes and they monitor the movement on the computer for any fault or safety issues. until it passes inspection it can never be registered. so bros people fix and still drive old or accident cars here in America as long as its done along the law and safety required which are not followed in naija instead we now criticize and condeme without being informed. By the way I've been driving an 09 camry with still less than 50k miles for almost 2 yrs now, its was a salvage car and both the purchased and repair price is less than $8k

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