Q: can passenger airbag deploy if there is no passenger on the seat?

asked by on January 05, 2017

The car crashed into the rear of a truck . only the driver was in the car. what activated the passenger airbag given that there was no passenger? The driver's airbag however deployed.

My car has 225168 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

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Hello, thank you for writing in. The passenger airbag is capable of going off without a person in the seat. Typically they are equipped with a switch that will let you turn the passenger airbag on or off at your leisure. In addition, there is typically an airbag sensor located under the passenger’s seat that will turn off that airbag if the weight threshold has not been met. You need to check your owners’ manual to find out what exactly your model is equipped with. If the collision was far enough to one side of the vehicle (like the passenger’s side) then the vehicle’s monitoring system may decide the driver’s airbag did not need to deploy. They can be dangerous and do more damage then prevent it under certain circumstances. Again, you will want to look at your owners’ manual to check what your particular system is equipped with, and then assess the damage to see if yours should have deployed. If you suspect there was an error, have the vehicle inspected by a technician and contact your insurance company about it. For more diagnostic help, contact our service department.

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