Should airbags be replaced after ten years?

Toyota (among others including Honda, Nissan and Mazda) is recalling 76,000 cars in the UK between 9 and 13 years old due to a possible fault with airbags. I understood that airbags are only expected to be effective for a max of 10 years anyway, so should all of us receive advice from our manufacturer when our cars reach that age, telling us that the airbags can no longer be regarded as safe and it's time to ditch the car?
Toyota is famously over-cautious. Though the airbag worked on a 1972 Chevrolet in a crash a couple of years ago, not one really knows if airbags more than a few years old will work in a crash or not. The warning light normally only alerts a problem with the trigger. It does not tell you if the bag has perforated or if the charge has decayed. The cost of replacing front, side and curtain airbags in a car seven years old would be greater than the value of the car.
Answered by Honest John on

Ask Honest John