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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
How to remove the steering wheel airbag for a 2016 KIA OPTIMA SX 2.0L. I needed to replace the left hand side paddle shifter, airbag removal is the only way to gain access. Please be careful, working with airbags is very dangerous. I am not professional, just someone trying to save a couple bucks.

Here is how I did it:

IMPORTANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Make sure you disconnect the battery negative cable and I wait at least 10 minutes before messing with the air bag.

There are a bunch of holes behind the steering wheel. 3 of them are for releasing the air bag. You use a flathead screwdriver to press on the snap fit pin stoppers. Here are two pictures showing the back and bottom of the steering wheel with arrows pointing at the push pin locations.

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^^These TWO holes are only accessed when the steering wheel is turned 90 degrees to the left or right. You’ll be able to see them from the top(when looking behind the steering wheel). These two push pins are a bit tricky, but I found a video that best explained the process. Here is the link for the video(yes, the car in the video is not an optima, but the process is the same):




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^^Here is the 3rd and final hole(and the easiest), located at the bottom of the steering wheel. If you shine a light you’ll see a shiny piece of metal. This is the pin you need to press in order to release 1/3 of the air bag. The airbag will pop out when done correctly.

When the airbag is released, I turned the steering wheel so it is straight. Slowly pull out the air bag and you will see that there are 3 connections. One is for the horn, the other two are for the air bag. I disconnected the horn but left the airbag connections in tact. I pulled out the airbag enough to give me some room to work.

You will see one screw on each side of the steering wheel, each one holds one paddle shifter in place. I put a small rag in the void left after removing the air bag, the rag will catch the screw in case I drop it. Make sure you get the right sized screwdriver, you don’t wanna strip the head. It took a bit of force to remove the screw.

I then used two flatheads to remove the old paddle shifter. When sitting in the car, facing the wheel, you will see a small gap/opening between the paddle shifter and the steering wheel. I carefully wedged the flathead into that opening to slide out the paddle shifter. The gap should increase as you work both flatheads around the shifter. You could also carefully poke into the hole where the screw was in order to push the paddle shift out a bit.

When out, disconnect the paddle shifter and connect the new one. I just pushed the new one in making sure it was flat on the steering wheel. Put the screw back in through the steering wheel, it will be very tight so take your time. You don’t want to over tighten or strip the screw, The screw secures onto the paddle shifter through this small plastic whole/opening, you don’t wanna strip that either.

Connect the horn cable to the air bag and press it into place, you will hear it click. Connect the battery, and you are done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don’t understand the part that reads “Remove the driver airbag module from the steering wheel after pressing the snap fit pin stopper.“ How do I press on the snap fit pin stopper? The 3rd gen Optima’s have these 3 holes behind the steering wheel which are used to access those press pins. My Steering (4th gen) wheel only has one hole under the steering wheel, when I press inside the whole, the airbag moves up a bit, I think I released the bottom pin. I am not sure how the release the other 2 snap pins.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Unfortunately, my Optima’s airbag wasn’t as simple to remove because of the paddle shifters. Those with Kia’s without paddle shifters should find this video to be very helpful.
 
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