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Can You Add Airbags to an Old Car?

Can You Add Airbags to an Old Car?

Airbags are safety cushions that inflate and protect the driver and passengers during a crash. The ECU sends a signal to the module inflator to ignite a chemical activity that produces gas to inflate the cushion within seconds.

Can You Add Airbags to an Old Car? You cannot add airbags to an old car because they are model-specific, they do not have airbag mounts, and their sensors are incompatible with the cabin.

However, old automobiles are without airbags and provide enough safety with skilled driving. Furthermore, their installation is impossible in classic cars due to design restrictions. 

Why you cannot add airbags to an old car?

They are incompatible with the cabins of the old cars due to differences in mounting positions. Moreover, due to the following reasons, you cannot install them inside their classic interior.


These are protection features inside the vehicle cabin. Across the United States of America, cars from the 1970s have this feature.

In 1999, the government made them mandatory for vehicles to ensure the safety of individuals. However, the cars manufactured before 1970 lacked them due to their standard design. 

Latterly, the automotive makers added them in automobiles according to the make and model. Therefore, they are model specific due to their design, filled gas, and performance. 

They are incompatible with the old cars due to their undefined interiors and non-luxurious cabins. In addition, you cannot add this feature of one automobile model in a variant of an old or new automobile because it has specificity.

 No mounts and incompatible sensors

The old vehicles lack the standard mounts to fit the airbags because they are older than airbags. Airbags had launched in the automobile industry from 1970 to 1971.  

During the fitting procedure, you do not install the inflated cushions only. Instead, the procedure requires the installation of sensors and a control module to regulate the gas pressure. 

Their sensors are incompatible with the interior of classic automobiles. In addition, their cabin lacks the standard computer technology regulating input information. 

Their addition is impossible inside classic automobiles without mounts and engine response channels.

In compulsive addition, the sensors lack the standard performance and cannot inflate the protective cushions during collisions.

They cannot withstand the old and undefined technology of classic vehicles. 

Wiring harness in the pillars

They are without airbags due to their compact designs and fewer amenities. In addition, they were slow-speed vehicles that did not require these advanced safety technologies. 

You can find them in a few vehicles manufactured after 1973. In classic automobiles, you cannot approach standard mounting positions for them. 

You cannot find the attachment points for the connection of their electric cords. In addition, these vehicles have compact passenger compartments, which provide insufficient room to adjust all the components of these safety cushions. 

However, a few people prefer side pillars for their installation on classic automobiles. But, these side pillars have a specific elongated wiring harness that resists their adjustment. 

You cannot pull the wiring harness from the side pillars because it can rescue the vehicle’s performance. Also, the connected equipment can stop working, which is dangerous for the automobile. 

Expensive addition 

Airbag fitting is impossible for a classic car without modifying its factory design. However, the modification is challenging and results in money consumption.

The overall frame modification can cost you more than $1200 to $1800 for one airbag. Moreover, you cannot find compatible options for your classic vehicle.

Replacement and modifications of different components are costly in these old and vulnerable vehicles.

For the model installation, you can spend around $400 to $800, which is an expensive investment on these automobiles. 

Due to the design of these vehicles, you cannot adjust the module in the cabin without altering the overall cabin layout. 

No relevancy with a stock design

These are advanced safety features and are compatible with the electronic control unit of the latest vehicles. Therefore, the stock design of the classic car is not relevant to these inflated bags.

Moreover, these vehicles lack compatible mounts for safety features. Therefore, they are not relevant for advanced safety equipment. 

Furthermore, classic automobiles have designs that are different than modern vehicles. However, a few old cars have this feature. 

But, they use a less efficient igniter to regulate the gas pressure. As a result, they cannot adjust in their cabins. 

Also, they lose their performance due to forceful addition in incorrect mounts.

Why do old cars not have airbags?

Airbags became compulsory for automobiles in 1998. Before this year, they were not mandatory in these vehicles. 

Due to these reasons, classic automobiles lack them in their cabin. In addition, due to their compact designs, these vehicles did not require them to protect passengers or drivers during crashes. 

Also, they were no laws to make them compulsory in these vehicles. Therefore, the USA does not comprise a particular law or regulations which make them mandatory for classic automobiles. 

However, it is a beneficial feature for a standard vehicle. But, old automobiles do not require this equipment for their standard functionality. 

Also, they do not need it for their optimized security due to low-speed conditions. Moreover, their engines were not modified and upgraded. 

According to their classic designs, these automobiles had seatbelts. Seatbelts are protection straps that secure the driver and other individuals during driving. 

The seatbelts of classic cars were enough to protect the driver from severe injuries. Moreover, they had buckles with three different straps. 

Due to their holding property, they effectively stabilized the individuals in the seat. In addition, due to the central straps, the seatbelts kept the passengers safe from sudden collisions with the dashboard or windshield.

Is it safe and legal to drive an old car without airbags?

The old cars do not require these airbags to provide them security and protection during collisions. Therefore, it is safe to drive them without them inside their cabins. 

There are no specific regulations across the USA that can restrict the driving of a classic vehicle without this feature.

Furthermore, it is not illegal to drive older automobiles without them. The state authorities and police can recognize these vehicles due to their design and models. 

Due to these specifications, the classic car driver never violates traffic regulations and state laws. You can drive these automobiles interstate without the inference of police or state law regulating authorities.

During crashes, seatbelts can protect passengers. Due to limited speeds, classic vehicles do not undergo irreversible crashes.

Their engines and brake systems are compatible with the frame size. Their suspension and transmission can protect them during collisions and other such events. 

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