Why Didn't My Airbags Go Off?

Why Didn't My Airbags Go Off?

If you’re in a car crash and your airbags don’t go off, you may wonder if they’re working as they should. Your vehicle may have frontal airbags only or both side and frontal. Frontal airbags have been standard equipment in all passenger cars, SUVs, pickups, and vans since the late 1990s. You count on them to help protect you in a collision, but in some cases, they fail to go off. Does that mean they’re not working properly and they should be inspected as part of your collision repair?

Airbags aren’t designed to activate during every collision. While you want your airbag to go off when you need its protection, you certainly don’t want it going off in every collision. They use an explosive propellant that lets them inflate quickly, traveling as fast as 100 mph, and they can cause injuries. They should go off only when they’re truly needed.

How Airbags Work

This important safety feature is designed to work best when you wear a seat belt. In a crash, the airbags’ electronic control unit collects information to determine whether 1 or more airbags should be deployed. It sends a signal to the inflator, which causes the airbag to go off in a fraction of a second.

Why Your Airbags May Not Go Off in a Collision

The following are some reasons why your airbags may not go off after a collision:

  • Airbags are only supposed to go off if certain conditions are met.
    Airbags are designed to go off only under certain circumstances. Front airbags, for example, are designed to deploy if the car is traveling at or above a particular speed and the crash occurs at a particular angle. If the vehicle isn’t traveling at a high enough speed and the crash isn’t at an angle that propels the vehicle’s occupants forward, the airbags may not deploy. In addition, the impact needs to cause your vehicle to abruptly slow down or stop.
  • The automatic shut-off sensors have engaged.
    Some frontal airbags will automatically shut off on the passenger’s side if a small person or child is in the seat. They could face severe or even fatal injuries if an airbag deploys.
  • The airbag sensors have defective parts.
    In some cases, an airbag sensor or control unit may not work properly. This was the case when Toyota recalled 2.9 million vehicles because their airbag control units may fail to receive or interpret the correct signals from the crash sensors. If this occurs, the airbags would fail to deploy. When recalls occur, you can take your vehicle to the dealer to have your airbags replaced for free. To check for recalls, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls.
  • Your vehicle doesn’t have all its airbags.
    If you’ve been in a crash in which your airbag goes off, you’ll have to have it replaced as part of your vehicle's collision repair. And if you buy a used car, check to see if the airbag indicator light comes on. If it doesn’t, or if it stays on, your airbags may have problems. Bring the car to Newell’s Auto Body in Decatur, IL and we’ll make sure you have airbags and that they’re properly installed.

Your airbags are an important safety device that you need to be able to count on to deploy when needed. Newell’s takes this safety feature very seriously. As part of a repair, high tech computer diagnostics are used to locate fault codes that may be related to airbags or other safety related items. For a safe quality collision repair - stop by Newell’s Auto Body in Central Illinois. We’ve proudly served vehicle owners in the area since 1958 and would love to service your car and take care of your collision repair needs!

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