Q: What will set off the airbags?

asked by on

What will set off the airbags?

The airbags are made to inflate in the case of a crash, but how severe of a crash does it take to deploy the airbags? This is a fairly common question, but doesn’t quite capture the complexity involved in the safety systems found in modern vehicles. There are a number of factors that contribute to the airbags inflating:

  • Direction: The airbags found in the vehicle are designed to assist the occupants in a front impact. If the truck is rear-ended or rolled over, the airbags will not go off. A side impact will set off the optional side airbags if the force is strong enough.

  • Speed: Low-speed crashes may not set off the airbags.

  • Angle: If the angle of the vehicle is not straight-on then it will influence which airbags ultimately go off. If the impact happens at the front driver side corner, then the passenger side airbags and possibly the passenger front airbag will not inflate.

  • Force from impact: A crash is not just about the speed of the vehicle, the amount of force the object the vehicle hits absorbs is also a big factor. A hypothetical “immovable object” will make the vehicle experience all of the force from the crash all at once, so the airbags are very likely to go off if the vehicle impacts a wall or other hard, sturdy object. On the opposite end of that spectrum, hitting something that will make the vehicle slow gradually will not set off the airbags. For instance, if the vehicle loses control and rolls onto a soft shoulder it may be stopped by mud or gravel.

Tip

Even in a low-speed crash, the seat belts, airbags, and any other safety equipment should be inspected afterwards to ensure that they were not damaged.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1,000 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. What will set off the airbags?

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 hydraulic power steering?

Your vehicle comes with hydraulic power steering that requires no action on your part to activate. To use, simply turn your engine on and drive as you would normally. While your vehicle’s hydraulic power steering is a handy tool that...

Q: How do I turn off the Air Bag Light on the dash?

If the Air Bag Light on the dash of your car is on, it means that something’s causing the passenger sensing system to turn off the front air bag and possibly the side air bag. Here’s what you should do...

Q: Hello- My 1989 automatic, full-size K5 Blazer, was towed about 6 blocks, when the mechanic tried to drive it into a service bay, i

Hello. We will be happy to help you out. There are only a few things which can cause your transmission to not select gear. They can be bad shifter bushings, shift linkage broken or disconnected, or an internal transmission issue....

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...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.