Sprinter vans are versatile vehicles that can be used for various purposes, such as cargo transport, passenger transport, camping, mobile office, etc. They are popular for their spacious interior, high roof, fuel efficiency, and reliability.
However, regarding safety features, one of the most important questions that many Sprinter van owners and enthusiasts have is: Do Sprinter vans have airbags?
The answer is more complex, as it depends on several factors, such as the model year, the manufacturer, the configuration, the recall status, and the aftermarket options of your Sprinter van. In this blog, we will explore these factors in detail and provide useful information and tips on ensuring that your Sprinter van has functional and reliable airbags for your safety and comfort.
What are airbags, and how do they work?
Airbags are passive safety devices that are designed to protect passengers in case of a collision. They are usually located in the steering wheel, the dashboard, the doors, the roof, and other parts of the vehicle. They consist of a fabric bag, an inflator, a sensor, and a control unit. When a collision occurs, the sensor detects the impact and sends a signal to the control unit, which activates the inflator. The inflator fills the bag with gas in a fraction of a second, creating a cushion that absorbs some of the kinetic energy and reduces the risk of injury. After the collision, the bag deflates automatically.
There are different types of airbags, such as front airbags, side airbags, curtain airbags, knee airbags, etc. Each type has a specific function and location in the vehicle. For example, front airbags protect the driver and the front passenger from hitting the steering wheel or the dashboard; side airbags protect the occupants from side impacts; curtain airbags protect the head and neck from glass shards or debris; knee airbags protect the lower limbs from hitting the dashboard or the pedals.
Airbags have been proven effective and beneficial in reducing injuries and fatalities in vehicle crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), airbags saved more than 50,000 lives from 1987 to 2017. Airbags also reduce the severity of injuries by 37% for drivers and 27% for passengers. However, airbags are not without risks. They can cause injuries or even death if defective, improperly installed, or misused.
Therefore, it is important to follow some safety precautions when using airbags, such as:
- Always wear your seat belt properly
- Adjust your seat position so that you are at least 10 inches away from the steering wheel or the dashboard
- Do not place any objects or children on or near an airbag
- Do not tamper with or modify an airbag system
- Check your vehicle for any air bag recalls or defects
What is the history and status of airbag recalls for Sprinter vans?
One of the biggest issues that affected millions of vehicles worldwide, including some Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner Sprinter vans, was the Takata airbag inflator recall. This massive recall campaign started in 2013 and involved more than 40 million vehicles from various manufacturers. The recall was due to a defect in the Takata airbag inflators that caused them to explode and send metal fragments into the vehicle cabin. This defect was linked to high humidity and temperature conditions that degraded the chemical propellant in the inflators over time. The defect resulted in at least 27 deaths and more than 400 injuries globally.
Daimler Vans USA (DVUSA), LLC was one of the manufacturers participating in this recall campaign. DVUSA is responsible for distributing Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner Sprinter vans in North America. According to DVUSA’s website, there were two phases of recall for Sprinter vans affected by the Takata defect:
- Phase 1: This phase involved certain model year 2007-2009 Dodge Sprinter 2500/3500 vehicles equipped with driver-side front airbag modules containing certain Takata PSPI-L inflators.
- Phase 2: This phase involved certain model year 2010-2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500/3500 vehicles equipped with driver-side front airbag modules containing certain Takata PSPI-L inflators.
DVUSA took several actions to repair and account for affected Sprinter vans, such as:
- Launching a website where owners can check their vehicle identification number (VIN) to see if their Sprinter van is affected by the recall
- Sending notifications to owners via mail or email informing them about the recall and instructing them to contact an authorized dealer for a free replacement
- Providing free towing and rental services for owners who need to bring their Sprinter van to a dealer for the replacement
- Reporting the status and progress of the recall to NHTSA regularly
As of March 2021, DVUSA reported completing 100% of the recall for Phase 1 and 98.9% of the recall for Phase 2. However, there may still be some Sprinter vans that still need to be repaired or accounted for. Therefore, it is important to check your Sprinter van for any recall issues and take action if it is affected.
What are the current and future options for airbag kits for Sprinter vans?
If your Sprinter van is unaffected by the recall or has already been repaired, you may still want to upgrade your airbag system with aftermarket options. There are several reasons why you may want to do this, such as:
- To improve the ride quality and comfort of your Sprinter van
- To increase the load capacity and stability of your Sprinter van
- To adjust the suspension height and level of your Sprinter van
- To customize the appearance and performance of your Sprinter van
There are various options for air bag kits for different models and configurations of Sprinter vans, such as 2WD, 4WD, 2500, 3500, etc. Some of the popular and reputable brands and products of air bag kits for Sprinter vans are:
- Sprintek: This brand specializes in suspension systems for Sprinter vans. They offer a range of airbag kits compatible with most models and configurations of Sprinter vans. Some of their features include:
- High-quality components and materials
- Easy installation and maintenance
- Wireless remote control and smartphone app
- Adjustable pressure and height settings
- Lifetime warranty and customer support
- Air Lift: This brand has been in the air suspension industry since 1949. They offer a variety of airbag kits that can fit different vehicles, including some models of Sprinter vans. Some of their features include:
- Durable and reliable components and materials
- Simple installation and operation
- Manual or automatic control options
- Customizable pressure and height settings
- Limited warranty and customer service
Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, such as:
- Cost: The price of an airbag kit can vary depending on the brand, product, model, configuration, etc. Generally, an airbag kit can cost anywhere from $500 to $3000.
- Installation: Installing an airbag kit can be easy or difficult depending on the product, vehicle, tools, skills, etc. Generally, an airbag kit can take 2 to 8 hours or more to install.
- Performance: The performance of an airbag kit can depend on the quality, design, functionality, compatibility, etc. Generally, an airbag kit can improve a vehicle’s ride quality, load capacity, stability, etc.
Therefore, it is important to research and compare before choosing the best airbag kit for your Sprinter van based on your needs, preferences, budget, etc.
In conclusion, Sprinter vans have airbags, but not all are functional or reliable. It is important to check your Sprinter van for any recall issues or defects and take action if it is affected. It is also possible to upgrade your airbag system with aftermarket options that can enhance your safety and comfort. However, you must consider several factors before choosing the best airbag kit for your Sprinter van.
This blog has provided useful information and tips on ensuring that your Sprinter van has functional and reliable airbags. If you have any feedback, questions, experiences, etc., please share them in the comments section below or contact us for more information. Thank you for reading!