While we were on a road trip this past week, I noticed a trouble light coming on in the car. I looked it up in the manual, which, helpfully, said "call service". The light apparently indicated a problem with the passenger-side air bag, according to the electronic diagnostic process that cost me $114 when I took it to the dealer. They did not know the reason for this, but recommended replacing the airbag and wiring harness - to the tune of $2600! I paid the diagnostic fee and took the car home. Who has $2600 to fix their car? Not me. My son said "would you rather be safe or sorry?" I said I'd rather be safe, but for a reduced price! My daughter, who sat in the front on the way home, said "I'm gonna die!" and I said, "Well, that's why we had more than one kid!" Just kidding.
But $2600? We've been saving for a new (used) car for the kids and only have $1500 saved so far. Even if we used that money we'd have to come up with another $1100 and there might not even be anything wrong with the air bag. The dealer could not explain to me WHY this might be happening or even give me a reason why it's EVER happened. So, who's to say anything is really wrong? What if they pull the whole dash off to replace a perfectly fine air bag? I guess I'll take my chances. The car can't be any more dangerous than a car without an air bag and plenty of those are driving around every single day.
Still, it sucks. Now, I know I need to make a costly repair to my car if I want it to be perfectly safe. Kind of like when I drove my old minivan and I realized that once my kids were tall enough, the lack of headrests was dangerous to their young necks in the event of an accident. My daughter drives that van now, and I never had headrests installed. I wonder how much THAT would cost? I guess we'll just drive as safely as possible and hope for the best. One would think a safety feature that is problematic on a car would be backed up by the manufacturer. Or at least not so expensive to fix!