sdapana

Passenger Airbag - dashboard is separating

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2003 Lexus ES - the portion of the dashboard that covers the passenger airbag is separating at the top (see photo attached).  We live in SF Bay Area and get temps in the 80-90's (a few days of low 100's) during the summer but not sure if the heat is enough to cause this kind of separation.  I talked to the local Lexus dealer and asked them if there was any danger in the airbag either not deploying correctly or deploying pre-maturely due to the dashboard separation.  

They said I need to call Toyota National and open up an issue with them directly (i.e. they don't want to say anything related to safety that might make the dealership liable) They said my VIN# is not on the airbag recall notification list.  So has anyone else had this happen to their dashboard / airbag and if so what did you end up doing to fix it?  The dealership said all they could do is replace the dashboard but the airbag was a separate component and they have no way to know if the airbag is impacted by the dashboard seam separating.  

 

Thoughts or opinions welcome.

 

thank you

Steve 

 

IMG_6452.JPG

IMG_6451.JPG

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sdapana,

My wife's last ES had the same separation issue, but only slightly so, but in the same location. It wasn't sufficiently ugly enough for us to take any action on it, and certainly wasn't an issue for the people who bought the car when we traded up to her present 2011.

 

That said, I can't believe that your dealership could be sooooo unprofessional as to not take a stand on the air bag's reliability.

Your air bag is fine. Its a separate unit, bolted to the dash subframe and is entirely separate from the dash pad. The air bag sits right underneath the padded dash, and when ignited, blows up through the dash knocking out the section in your photograph. Your dash pad has just had too much sun and heat and has started to shrink and crack along the thinned out seam through which the air bag would explode.

 

Not to worry. You air bag still works, but your dash pad will not get any better in appearance. You'll either have to live with its looks, its going to shrink even more over time, or spend lots of bucks for a dash top replacement, if they are even available anymore. On top of that will be the labour dollars to remove and then install the new one. Your car is 13 years old. Do you really want to spend $1500 or more to replace the dash top? You might consider one of those dash pad covers that accessory companies sell. They're made specifically to cover older cracked dash pads.

Check out this link for instance:   http://dashcare.com/i-136874-dash-cover-lexus-es-300-330-2002-2006.html

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