Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: How does the air bag system work?

asked by on

How does the air bag system work?

A: Your car’s air bag supplemental restraint s...

Your car’s air bag supplemental restraint system (SRS) is designed to deploy the air bags during certain types of impacts. They will not activate in all accidents, even if they seem like they’re severe enough. Here’s what you need to know about how the system works:

  • The car’s computer determines the severity of the impact based on information from the crash sensors.

  • The car’s computer determines if the situation warrants deploying an air bag (or which air bags should be deployed).

  • Front air bags will not usually inflate in a side impact situation, rear impact accident or a rollover.

  • air bags will inflate and deflate very fast – you may not even see them inflate.

  • If you see a smoke or dust-like powder in the air after deployment, this is normal.

  • If your air bags do not deploy in an accident it does not mean there is something wrong with the system.

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!

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 install a forward-facing car seat?

If your child has graduated from a rear-facing car seat, the next step is to install a front-facing car seat. You can install these with either the seat belt, or the Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) system (depending...

Q: What is the satellite radio electronic serial number and why do I need it?

While AM and FM stations are free to listen to, satellite radio (SIRIUS) is a paid service. In order to receive signal after the initial trial period is over, you’ll need to enroll with SIRIUS Radio. To do that, you’ll...

Q: If passenger airbag is missing, shouldnt a light be going off in the car to indicate it isnt there?

Some vehicles were designed to have an option to not have a passenger airbag. That maybe the possibility why there is no airbag. If you were to dig around in the dashboard and find wires tied together, then someone removed...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...