Do Quick Release Steering Wheels Have Airbags?

Last Updated on August 24, 2023 by Henry T. Hawkins

As the name implies, quick release steering wheels are designed with one primary purpose: to disconnect from a vehicle rapidly.

Most often found in fast-paced racing cars on racetracks, these designs provide an advantage for drivers navigating tight turns and sharp corners.

The ability to disconnect from the steering wheel can allow drivers to make sudden turns and tight maneuvers that would otherwise be dangerous or impossible.

But the question of whether they have airbags or not will surprise you. Quick-release steering wheels don’t have airbags.

In this article, we’ve explored do quick release steering wheels have airbags, the pros and cons of these designs, and are they safe for everyday driving. So, keep reading!

Do Quick Release Steering Wheels Have Airbags?

Do quick release steering wheels have airbags?

As mentioned above, the answer is No; quick release steering wheels do not have airbags. 

Quick release steering wheels are designed to be removed quickly and easily from the vehicle to access components behind them (e.g., wiring, dashboards).

This makes it impractical to integrate an airbag into a quick-release steering wheel. Any sudden impact would likely cause the wheel to detach from the column, rendering the airbag ineffective. 

Furthermore, quick release steering wheels are typically used in motorsports and vehicles that do not require airbags for safety reasons.

Therefore, it is not necessary or practical for a quick release steering wheel to come equipped with an airbag. 

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Why do people want quick-release steering wheels?

Quick-release steering wheels are becoming increasingly popular among drivers. This is because they offer several benefits, including improved safety and convenience. 

The reasons why people want quick release steering wheels are:

Quickly remove the wheel during emergency

In an emergency, a quick-release steering wheel can be quickly and easily detached from the column to access the components behind it. 

This is especially beneficial in motorsports, where drivers may need to quickly access components behind the wheel.

Improved safety

Quick-release steering wheels provide improved safety by allowing the driver to easily disconnect from the wheel and make tight turns or sharp maneuvers without worrying about the wheel jerking around or becoming stuck. 

This can be a lifesaver when drivers need to make sudden, sharp turns.

Lower the car weight

These steering wheels are often made with lightweight materials, allowing them to reduce the vehicle’s overall weight. 

This can be especially beneficial in racing cars, where reducing the weight of the car can provide a competitive advantage on the racetrack.

Enhanced customization

If you want to customize the look of your vehicle, quick-release steering wheels make it easy to swap out different designs and styles. This can give a more personalized feel to your ride.


Quick-release steering wheels are generally much less expensive than their conventional counterparts, making them an attractive option for drivers on a budget.

Make the car look racing style 

Quick-release steering wheels give the car a racing-style look and feel. This can be great for drivers who want to make their cars stand out from the rest or simply enjoy the look of a performance vehicle.

However, even though quick-release steering wheels are versatile and offer a number of benefits, they are not suitable for everyday driving. 

As a mechanical engineer, I believe steering wheels with airbags are much safer and suitable for everyday driving.

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What are the pros and cons of quick release steering wheels?

Let’s talk about some pros and cons.


– You can easily remove and reattach quick release steering wheels, making it easy to customize the car with different styles or designs.

– Quick release steering wheels are usually made with lightweight materials, allowing them to reduce the overall weight of the vehicle.

– They also provide improved safety as drivers can easily disconnect from the wheel and make tight turns or sharp maneuvers without worrying about the wheel jerking around or becoming stuck.

– These steering wheels are generally much less expensive than their conventional counterparts, making them an attractive option for drivers on a budget.


– These types of steering wheels are not suitable for vehicles with airbags because the sudden impact of an accident may cause the wheel to detach and fly out, leading to further injuries.

– Quick release steering wheels may be difficult to use with certain types of steering systems, such as power steering or electronic assistance.

– They may not provide the same level of control and stability as regular steering wheels.

– They may require frequent maintenance and be replaced more often than a conventional steering wheel.

– The tight fit of some quick release systems may make the steering wheel difficult to remove or attach.

– Some racing sanctioning bodies do not allow quick release systems in certain classes due to their potential for unsafe use.

– They are not legal for road safety.

– They are designed for race cars only.

Are quick release steering wheels safe?

Are quick release steering wheels safe?

Is a Quick Release Steering Wheel safe for your street-registered car? Unfortunately, it is not designed with safety in mind and should thus not be used as a normal driving option.

They are specifically designed for track use and should only be used in those settings. On the street, they can present a significant safety hazard due to their lack of stability and the unpredictability of when the wheel could come off in an emergency.

If you absolutely must have one for your street-registered car, it is important to have it professionally installed and to ensure that the release mechanism is properly secured at all times. 

Plus, you also need to ensure it is legal in your state. Otherwise, you will end up with a high ticket and possibly other legal ramifications.

Why doesn’t a quick-release steering wheel come with an airbag?

As stated above, a quick-release steering wheel typically does not come with an airbag because it is designed to be removed easily. 

This feature allows the driver to quickly exit their vehicle in an emergency situation, such as a crash or fire, which frequently happens in racing cars.

Since the wheel can be removed quickly, there would not be enough time for the airbag to deploy before the wheel is removed.

Additionally, the weight of the airbag could make it difficult for racing car drivers to move the wheel when needed.

Therefore, they don’t come with an airbag.

Are steering wheels without airbags legal?

Due to safety concerns, steering wheels without airbags are not legal in the US.

For a vehicle to be road-worthy in the US, it must have an airbag installed in the steering wheel.

The airbag is designed to deploy in a collision, which helps to protect the driver and passengers from serious injuries.

This is mandated for vehicles manufactured after 1989. However, there are some special circumstances where a removable steering wheel is permitted and requires an exemption or waiver from the local DMV.

These waivers may be granted in certain cases, such as antique, off-road, race, and show cars.

Additionally, a removable steering wheel may be permitted if a vehicle owner has the correct safety equipment installed that meets the latest regulations for airbags. It is important to check with the local DMV as regulations can vary from state to state. 

Does a new steering wheel come with an airbag?

Most stock vehicles have airbags fastened to the steering wheel; however, this isn’t always true for custom-made automobiles used in racing.

Unfortunately, many drivers incorrectly believe that all cars include these safety features – adding further confusion and uneasiness for operators on the road.

To ensure the best possible safety, you must ensure that your vehicle has all of the necessary airbags before you begin driving.

You should also never assume that a custom-made car or one used for racing will have all of the same safety components as a stock vehicle.

It is always recommended to check with a qualified mechanic or technician to ensure that your car is equipped with all of the necessary safety features.

Additionally, drivers should always wear a seat belt when operating any type of vehicle to further reduce the risk of injury or death in the event of an accident.

By following these simple steps, you can help ensure that you and those around you remain safe while on the road.

Wrapping up:

Thanks for reading! To summarize, quick-release steering wheels do not have airbags. This is because they are designed to be easy to remove from the vehicle and because airbags are not necessary for this application. 

However, it is essential to note that quick-release steering wheels should only be installed in vehicles used for racing and other closed-circuit events, as they can put the driver at risk if used on public roads. 

Be sure to take all safety precautions when installing and using a quick release steering wheel.

Thanks for reading once again! Hope this answers your question.

Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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