A Few Reasons Your Airbag Is Not Inflating Properly

Posted by Artem Martynyuk on

Accidents happen in split seconds. During that time, there is nothing else you can do to escape or avoid the moment. In this unfortunate situation, anything can happen but the airbag system is a often lifesaver. 

People rely on airbags so much these days. After all, its main purpose is to protect people and minimize injuries by cushioning them during a high-speed impact. However, dire things could take place if your airbag malfunctions, and that is the last thing you want to experience. 

This article will take a closer look at the reasons airbags do not deploy as they should. 

How Airbags Deploy

Before enumerating the reasons for an airbag malfunction, here is a quick glimpse of how airbags deploy. 

  • When a vehicle experiences a moderate to severe crash, it would quickly send a signal to the airbag’s electronic control unit. This part is responsible for inflating the airbag module itself.
  • The electronic control unit would then immediately send a signal to the igniter in the inflator. When the igniter receives the message, it will start a chemical reaction. 
  • During this chemical reaction, the system produces a harmless gas which makes inflation in split seconds possible. It should take place in less than 1/20th of a second.

Factors That Affect the Airbag Activation

Various factors are affecting the performance of the airbag activation:

  • The crash information (how fast are the vehicles involved, the impact direction, and so on.)
  • The design strategy of the vehicle’s airbag system
  • The location of the crash sensor

Why Airbags Do Not Deploy As It Should

Airbags are designed to deploy when needed, which simply means that that they are not intended to deploy all the time. There are certain instances when airbag deployment should not take place. Sometimes the system confuses the two, or an internal technical problem occurs. These are the most common reasons airbags fail to activate when needed:

The Impact

The severity of the crash would inform the airbag system of when they should activate or not. If the impact is low-speed, the system might determine that seat belt protection is enough. The cases are different for every vehicle, but typically, front airbags deploy for unbelted seat occupants that experienced a crash with an impact at a rigid wall equivalent to 10 to 12 mph. Some would start the activation at 16 mph for belted occupants. 

Location of the Collision 

Another factor that affects the airbag’s performance is the location of the impact. Usually, the impact location also determines the vehicle’s speed and damage. The airbag system is designed to trigger airbags when certain sections experience an impact. 

If your airbag does not activate as it should, perhaps the collision did not strike the vehicle’s assigned impact location. Usually, it happens when the impact is experienced on the rear or side of the vehicle.

Automatic Shut-Off Sensor

The advanced technology used in airbag systems can determine if a child is sitting on the front seat or if it is not occupied. In this situation, the sensor would automatically shut off to prevent itself from inflating. Airbag protection is not designed for children. Instead of saving their lives, it could result in serious injury and sometimes death. 

Defective Components

When something is wrong with one piece in the system, the whole thing might not work. Make sure to be observant and to have your system checked from time to time. 


Airbags are lifesavers, but they can only function if they are in good condition. Apart from regular vehicle maintenance and checkups, make sure you include the airbag inspection and repair in your checklist. 

RepairMySRS is an accident restoration company specializing in SRS airbag module reset and seat belt repairs on retractors, tensioners, and buckles. We provide our services nationwide using our bulletproof mail-in system, which guarantees a 24-hour turnaround! If you need our assistance, just book online or contact us at 855-552-7233.

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →