Today’s vehicles are safer than they’ve ever been. Design and construction techniques provide tremendous protection in an accident. Your airbags are part of a very sophisticated system of sensors and computers called the Supplemental Restraint System – or SRS. These sensors are all over your vehicle, detecting things like where passengers are sitting, how much they weigh, as well as the speed and direction of an impact during a crash.
All of this information is feed into the SRS computer that determines if and when an airbag or airbags should be deployed. An airbag has to be inflated very quickly in order to protect vehicle occupants. The inflation is basically the result of a controlled explosion: a violent event in itself. That’s why the SRS computer will only deploy an airbag in life threatening circumstances where an airbag will actually be of help. Deploying an airbag in the wrong circumstances could do more harm than good. Hard, direct side and front impacts, and also rollovers, are more likely to trigger airbags.
There are a few things to keep in mind about airbags. First, if the SRS dash light stays on, you need to have your system checked – something’s wrong. Also, when the driver’s side steering wheel airbag is deployed, the steering wheel clock spring may damaged. So the spring should be replaced when the new air bag is installed.
Also, when an airbag deploys, some or all of the sensors we’ve mentioned may be pre-triggered – meaning they are ready to go off. Simply hitting a pothole could set off an airbag. So, always have all SRS sensors replaced when replacing a deployed airbag. Only new airbags should be installed. No one can guarantee the condition of a salvaged airbag.
Only a qualified facility should work on your SRS system. And always remember that small children and child safety seats are safer in rear seats.