Seat with side airbag.

Parts shortages and thieves stealing parts from cars

In Uncategorized by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

The amount of time it takes to repair a vehicle can be impacted by certain requirements and how long it takes for a mechanic or auto repair shop to receive the parts needed.

We recently worked on a Toyota in the shop that had its seats stolen. But when the thieves took them, they actually ripped the wiring on the connectors that went to the seats for the side airbags.

On vehicles with side airbags, they are actually in the seat closest to the door so when they pop open they kind of shield you from the door or the glass. 

In this particular case, the thieves stole all of the seats – probably because they had a vehicle that was in an accident and couldn’t get parts but wanted their car back on the road. If the airbag light is on, you do not pass the state inspection.

Airbag wiring harness.

Airbag wiring harness

Replacing the wiring harness

In order to get the Toyota back on the road, our technicians needed to replace the whole airbag wiring harness that went from the dashboard and the modules all the way to the back of the vehicle, because you’re not allowed to repair wiring on airbag systems.

Removing the vehicle interior to replace airbag wiring harness.

Removing the vehicle interior to replace airbag wiring harness

This work included removing the vehicle interior.

If you do not use the correct gauge of wire – which is the thickness of the wire – or you use a connector and corrosion builds up, or there’s too much resistance, the airbag may not go off in the correct amount of time. It has to deploy in milliseconds.

Since you’re not allowed to repair wiring, according to the guidelines, we had to replace the whole wiring harness.

So, to the car part thieves out there: If you are going to steal parts like this out of the car, please disconnect the connector because this just turned into a huge job. This is basically 20 hours of work just to replace the wiring harness. Not only does that affect insurance rates, it also takes longer.

Airbag wiring connector.

Airbag wiring connector

Parts shortages

We know there’s a shortage of seats with the airbags because we were only able to get one seat to install in the vehicle, and we needed to wait for the others to come in.

There are parts shortages because manufacturing isn’t up to speed due to COVID-19. With all of the shipping, there are also a lot of delays at the ports. So, for parts that might have been a two-week delay the time frame is now extending to a month or a month and a half.

When having work done on your car’s airbag system, make sure that the person repairing it knows what they’re doing.

It is very important to not take the cheap way out because your life or someone else’s is at stake. You want to make sure that this system works exactly the way it’s supposed to.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.