Air Bags – Proceed with caution

Audi Air bag picture

Today I’d like to address an Auto Part that needs a little extra attention, Air Bags. As I’m sure you already know, air bags are those explosive devices that you see in the center of your steering wheel every day. If you’re driving a late model foreign car then your surrounded by them daily. You can find them in the steering wheel, dash, pillars, headliner, seats, and doors.

When installed in the vehicle, air bags are meant to protect you and save your life in case of impact. When removed from the vehicle however, air bags can pose a potential threat. Air Bags are explosive devices and any explosive device you hold in your hand should be handled with care.

One of the biggest misconceptions we hear is that air bags can just be thrown in a box and shipped. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Air Bags that are removed and packaged for shipment are regulated by DOT Hazmat safety standards. Which means shipping them in any old package is illegal. We see this so much in the online space, be it eBay, craigslist, for sale forums or social media sites. Consumers and businesses a like ship air bags just like any other Auto Part they buy or sell.

With all the national security risks in the last few years, improperly sending AND receiving explosive hazmat items puts you in a bad position if your package happens to get inspected. It’s important as a buyer or a seller that you know the risks and know how to handle sensitive material.

In order to ship Hazmat, you have to be Hazmat certified by your governing states DOT. If your working for a company that ships Hazmat, then you should have already been trained. If your in the salvage industry, you can get online training from A-R-A at their air bag resources site. The person packaging the air bag and the person delivering the air bag both have to be certified. This includes companies that use their own delivery drivers.

Proper paper work must acompany the air bag package which includes the Hazmat classifications along with 24/7 emergency contact numbers. The air bags are also required to be in an anti static bag with proper DOT approved boxes. Remember taking these precautions don’t just protect you from the government, they protect the receiver and the driver that has to transport the explosive devices. In case of an accident, that driver needs to know exactly whats on their truck and how to handle it.

When buying an Air Bag, expect to pay more for shipping. Hazmat fees are usually a $25 or more charge on top of the normal ground shipping rates. Air Bags should never be shipped on a plane so if your buying an air bag that says express shipping available, stay away. USPS should also never handle an air bag shipment because their network of shipping facilities relies heavily on planes.

Handling these items properly can definitely save you a lot head aches. It’s important to know that going cheap on Hazmat shipping and handling is a risk you shouldn’t take. When you purchase a used air bag online, ask the questions ahead of time so you know that the person sending the package is doing it correctly.

Proper Air Bag shipping package
DOT Approved Fiber Board Box

2 thoughts on “Air Bags – Proceed with caution

  1. A very informative article however, there are a couple of slight inaccuracies in the information you have given. Air bag modules can be shipped by air under specific conditions, under certain conditions they are not even classified as hazardous.

    Therefore, if the company sending them out knows what they are doing and applies the correct rules they can come through the post express.

    However, if your trying to send a part back as a private individual you are highly unlikely to be qualified to do so.

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