Q: What determines if the air bags will deploy or not?

asked by on

What determines if the air bags will deploy or not?

While it might seem like your air bags should deploy during every accident, that’s actually not the case. Some aren’t severe enough to warrant it, while in other situations, deploying the air bags might actually cause injury if someone isn’t properly seated in the car.

Your air bag system is monitored and controlled by the computer and a network of sensors. The sensors read the severity and location of an impact and then send that information to the computer. The computer then determines if the criteria warrant deploying the air bags. There are a couple of other things that you should know here, as well:

  • You must be going faster than 12 – 18 MPH for any air bag to deploy. If you’re driving slower than this, the air bags will not inflate.

  • Even if the air bags are not inflated, it’s possible that your seat belt pretensioners will be activated. Have your belts inspected after every collision.

  • If there isn’t a passenger sitting in the front seat, the passenger front air bag will not inflate. It also won’t inflate if the passenger is not adult sized (a child, for instance).

  • Side and side curtain air bags only deploy in some side impact situations (the collision has to have sufficient force to trigger the system).

  • The side curtain air bags should deploy in a rollover situation.

  • The front air bags may inflate if your car strikes something severely with the undercarriage.

  • Some angled front impacts may not set off any air bags.

Tips

  • If an air bag has been deployed, it must be replaced. They cannot be reused.

  • Never attempt to replace an air bag on your own.

  • Never rely on the air bags alone. Always wear your seat belt and make sure everyone in the vehicle is wearing theirs.

  • Always have your seat belts inspected after an accident to determine if the pretensioners were deployed (even if the air bags didn’t go off).

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. What determines if the air bags will deploy or not?

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 emergency flashers?

The emergency flashers are a very important safety and emergency feature. When you turn them on, all of your turn signals simultaneously flash, alerting surrounding drivers that you are in an emergency. To turn on the emergency flashers, press the...

Q: Can I put the motor into another car

Hello there, without knowing a bit more information I will answer this to the best of my abilities. If the engine was to go into another 2012 Chrysler 300 that had the same motor size, then the motor would most...

Q: What does the Supplemental Air Bag Warning Light mean?

The supplemental restraint system (SRS) on your Altima is pretty advanced, and is able to detect problems when they occur. If something happens that may disable all or part of the air bag system, a warning light is turned on...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
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...
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...