Everything About Airbags: History, Types, and Maintenance

Posted by Artem Martynyuk on

Every car owner knows the importance of having a reliable airbag system. Almost all car manufacturers include this safety feature in their vehicles today, especially since their riders’ safety is their main priority. These airbags ensure that drivers and passengers will not suffer from intense injuries during a severe car incident. If you want to expand your knowledge about this fantastic car feature, here is what you need to know. 

How Airbags Were Invented

In 1951, engineers Walter Linderer and John Hetrick created an airbag made out of a compressed air system that the driver needed to release manually. The intention was the same—to protect riders from road accidents. However, people found the system impractical because of its slow release and low safety provision.

In 1964, engineer Yasuzaburou Kobori from Japan suggested using an explosive to inflate the airbag faster. He also proposed to use airbags in different parts of the car and to utilize sensors in the vehicle as triggers. The idea received 14 patents from other countries. Unfortunately, he died before seeing it come to life. 

Three years later, in 1967, Allen Breed successfully made an airbag system that deployed much faster than anything else before. His invention took only 30 milliseconds to inflate, which provided better protection against sudden crashes. It was considered a breakthrough in airbag technology. 

In 1971, the Ford Company became the first car manufacturer to install airbags in cars, but only as an experiment. Two years later, General Motors created a version and sold it to government officials. In the same year, the Oldsmobile Toronado made the feature available to the public. 

The Different Types of Airbags

You might think that airbags are all the same, but they differ based on the body parts that they protect and their placement in the car. Here are the different types of airbags you should familiarize yourself with:

  • The Side Airbag - Placed on the driver and passengers’ side, this airbag protects the head from significant injuries. 
  • The Side Torso Airbags - This type of airbag is usually placed inside door panels. This airbag focuses on protecting the lower abdomen and pelvic area of the driver and passenger.
  • The Knee Airbag - This airbag is specifically designed to protect the driver’s and passengers’ knees. It is fitted right in front of the passenger’s knees and is often found in the lower dashboard portion. 
  • The Seat Cushion Airbag - This airbag protects the pelvis against any frontal impact. 
  • The Seat Belt Airbag - This airbag reduces the collision’s impact on the chest and rib cage. It is usually placed in the safety belts. 
  • The Pedestrian Airbag - This airbag is placed at the vehicle’s bumpers, pillars, or the hood’s edges, and it is designed to protect pedestrians from the severe impact of the car.

How to Properly Maintain an Airbag

If not correctly taken care of, an airbag may eventually malfunction or get damaged. When this happens, it cannot perform its function of saving lives and reducing collision impacts. Have it checked at least once every four years. In case your airbags deploy, make sure to have them repaired or replaced as immediately as possible.


Accidents happen when people least expect it, and this is when an airbag comes to the rescue. Without one, drivers and passengers may suffer serious injuries. An airbag is an integral part of any vehicle, so if you notice that your car’s SRS airbag needs a repair or replacement, make sure you bring it to the experts soon. 

Does your car need an SRS airbag module reset? Bring it to us, and we will take care of it. We ensure 24-hour turnaround repair with a lifetime warranty. Contact us to learn more about our service. 

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