Before you start
- Disconnect the battery negative terminal fifteen minutes before starting work.
- Make sure the steering wheel remains unlocked before disconnecting the battery. Turn the steering wheel.
- Handle the airbag with care.
- Keep at least one to two distances from the airbag at all times.
- Don't test airbags with a multimeter.
What you will need
You only need basic tools to remove a VW driver's airbag.
Here is how you can remove and replace a VW airbag from the steering wheel.
- Turn on the ignition. Make sure the wheels are pointing straight forward.
- While the ignition is on, disconnect the battery; this ensures the airbag won't deploy and the steering wheel remains unlocked so that you can still turn it.
- Press the brake pedal a couple of times, then wait at least 15 minutes before you continue to the next step. By pressing the brake pedal, we are making sure any electrical charge in the ECU is completely discharged.
- Lift up the upper steering column trim. Use a dashboard removal to try to pry the top trim. Usually, there are no screws, just clips.
- Turn the steering wheel 90 degrees so that the hole that is on the side of the steering wheel is at the top.
The hole is accessed from the back. Look for a hole at the back of the steering wheel. The 2015 and older VW vehicles had an easy to access hole on the back of the steering wheel. 2016 will not have a visible hole, but you should see a small indent. If the airbag has never been removed, the hole will be closed. Use a screwdriver to puncture this hole.
- Press the screwdriver towards the center of the steering column. This will release the airbag on one side.
- Turn the steering wheel 180 degrees to access the second hole on the other side of the steering wheel.
- Puncture a hole on the other side where the small indent is present.
- Release the airbag on the other side will allow you to remove the airbag. Have a helper hold the airbag as you release the second spring so that the airbag does not fall.
- Next, you need to disconnect the airbag. You can disconnect the wires from the airbag.The other option is to disconnect the one connector to the steering column. In either case, you need to release the locking tab first then disconnect the electrical connectors.
Releasing the airbag on a Volkswagen can be tricky and requires patience. Especially if you are removing a VW airbag for the first time, make sure to watch our video on VW airbag removal and check out all the pictures. You will have a better understand and what needs to be done.
Can I install a used VW airbag?
Yes, in theory. You can install a used airbag, but it is not recommended. A used airbag may not function or ignite appropriately in case of an accident.
Also, check your local laws.
Does a VW airbag need to be programmed?
No, when you install a used or new VW airbag, no programming for the airbag is required. The airbag light can be cleared with a VW scanner. Check out our guide on VW airbag light stays on.