Airbags are lifesavers!

Airbags are one of the most important vehicle safety innovations of all time but most people don’t even think about them until they’re involved in a collision.

Vehicle airbags are a form of safety restraint used in conjunction with seat belts to protect the head and the upper body of the driver and the passengers of a vehicle in the event of a frontal or side-impact crash. Airbags are more accurately known as a Supplementary RestraintSystem or SRS.

Things to know about  your vehicle's Airbag system

  • An airbag is rapidly inflated by a controlled explosion in the event of a moderate to severe impact, then deflates as it comes in contact with a person’s head or body.
  • Collisions are detected by the impact sensors, which transmit an electrical signal to the airbag ECU. This computer then instructs the airbag to deploy. 
  • On the vehicle's dashboard, you will note a light that either says Air Bag or SRS (Supplement Restraint System). Alternatively one might also notice a picture of a person with an airbag deploying.
  • A warning light will activate on the dashboard to notify that the airbag system is not operational. In some vehicles, it might be linked to a warning sound to draw attention. Sometimes the warning light could also indicate a problem with your seat belts.
  • When the ignition system is switched on, most modern vehicle electronic system does a diagnostic test that might result in the airbag sensor light also switching on briefly. If no problem, it will switch off automatically
  • Some models have the option to manually switch the airbag system on/off. When switched of, the warning light might stay on. The switching off, should only ebconsidered for passengers younger than 13, very short persons or for certain medical conditions. In these cases the benefits of the airbag can be outweighed by the risks, as the size and air pressure in the airbag could inflict serious injury on the passenger.
  • If your vehicle was in an accident, the crash sensors might have activated the airbag sensor as well, even if the accident was not to the point where the airbag deployed. In this case, you need to have your airbag reset.

Do airbags need maintenance?

No, airbags are sealed units, not exposed to the elements or wear and tear or other factors that would affect the life of other components. Generally speaking, the airbag system is designed for the lifespan of the vehicle. On average, the auto industry plan that consumers drive around 30,000 km a year and a lifetime to be in the range of eight to 10 years or in the 275,000 - 300,000 km range. It is generally believed within the industry, that airbags are good for 10-15 years without concern.  Airbags may also fail to deploy if your car sustained serious water damage to the point where the sensors corroded.

But my vehicle's monitor system indicates "service airbag"?

The airbag or SRS light might come on if your vehicle was in a minor accident that activated the crash sensors in your car, but not to the point where the airbag deployed. It might mean nothing much, or it could mean that in the event of an accident, your airbags will not deploy.  Contact a qualified service provider asap and let the system be checked.

What should I do after an accident?

After an accident impact, there are a variety of components of the airbag system to be checked, depending on which airbags deployed: front airbag sensors, airbag ECU, driver airbag, passenger airbag, front pre-tensioner seat belts, dashboard-mounted, and sometimes on the steering wheel itself. All of these components are linked in the airbag system. Airbags that deploy typically damage all related components such as the airbags themselves, crash sensors, clockspring, and seatbelt pre-tensioners. Even the ECU will need replacement or if possible, be reset. For safety reasons, it’s crucial to contact a professional to install the replacement airbags instead of trying to do it yourself. Airbags can deploy accidentally during installation or removal, which can cause severe injury. Airbags that have deployed cannot be reused. It may be legal to use an airbag which has not been removed from another vehicle of the same type, though this should be done only as a last resort.


Posted on Sep 23, 2020 by Auto Repair Directory

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