Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: How do airbags work?

asked by on

How do airbags work?

Airbags play a big role in keeping vehicle occupants safe in the event of a crash. They way in which they work is simple, yet the process has been fine-tuned over the years to offer as much protection as possible. Here’s how they work:

  1. When the vehicle senses a sufficient impact to the front or sides of a vehicle, a pressurized inflator fills the bag with gas in the blink of an eye. Some vehicles are equipped with dual-stage airbags. These can deploy in 2 different ways depending on the severity of the crash.

  2. The airbag pushes the interior panels blocking it aside. For the driver, the airbag pops out of the steering wheel. The panels are designed to not obstruct the airbags when deploying.

  3. The airbag inflates to its full size and provides a inflated bag for the occupant to impact in a crash. This is a huge improvement over simply hitting the steering wheel or dashboard in a crash. The airbag spreads out the force of the impact.

Tip

Do not rely on the airbags alone to protect you in a crash. They are designed around the fact that the occupant will be strapped into their seat when the airbag deploys.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. How do airbags work?

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: How do I use the rear seatbelt comfort guides?

The rear seatbelt comfort guides are designed to make the rear seats more comfortable, especially for younger and smaller occupants. They’re very easy to use: 1. Find the safety belt comfort guide in the storage pocket on the side of...

Q: Accidentally hit key fob and ignition went off

The vehicles computer must be scanned to see which trouble codes have come up then an experienced technician, like one from YourMechanic, must diagnose the actual problem in this case. The codes present may not have seemed to have anything...

Q: Check gauges light stays on 2001 Chevrolet Camaro

Hi there - most often, this means you have "low fuel level" in the gas tank. This message comes on when an operating condition (coolant temperature, system voltage, fuel level, etc.) is out of the "normal" range. The fuel level...

Related articles

How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...