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?

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 set the clock?

Setting the clock is very easy, and only takes a few steps: 1. Press the Trip Computer switch until the settings menu shows up. 2. Rotate the Trip Computer switch to Clock, then press the switch. 3. Rotate the Trip...

Q: Throttle stuck open

First, I would check to make sure that there is not a floor mat stuck under the gas pedal. Once that is ruled out, I have a strong suspicion that you're either having a problem with the acceleration pedal position...

Q: Car starts but acts like it doesn't want to

Hey there. This sounds like a faulty alternator. Use a multi-meter to test the alternator's output voltage. Good alternators test in the range of 13.8-14.2 volts and make sure to use the 20 volt setting, or you could receive a...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
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...
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...