The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that airbags save over fifty thousand lives per year, on average. Obviously, as a car owner, you should make sure your vehicle has functioning airbags. We will take you through the reasons why airbags fail, what to watch out for as a car owner, and how we can help prevent such an issue.
Reasons for AIrbag Failure
Airbag failure is a dangerous occurrence, since the devices can be the difference between life and death in a serious accident. Additionally, airbags may cause injury if deployed unnecessarily. The following issues may cause your airbags to fail during a crash or to deploy unnecessarily.
- Faulty Sensors: Your airbags rely on sensors to detect the kind of sudden deceleration associated with dangerous crashes. However, faulty sensors caused by bad software calibration, design, or manufacturing can disrupt this process, putting drivers and passengers in danger.
- Defective Electrical Components: The electrical components in the airbags which facilitate their deployment may fail. This may cause some airbags but not others to deploy, putting it up to random chance who in the car’s cabin receives any real protection from airbags.
- Severed Wires: During a collision, sheer force can destroy the wiring of an airbag system. This will cause it to fail to deploy.
Checking Your Airbag Light
Luckily, your car has an internal mechanism for detecting airbag flaws. If your airbags are in any way defective, you will likely see an airbag indicator on your dashboard. This indicates that your airbags are deactivated, meaning they will not deploy.
There are several reasons your airbag light may be on, all of which should prompt a visit to a professional mechanic. It is important to avoid driving if your airbag indicator is on. The risk of non-deployment means that driving is significantly more dangerous than usual.
- Depleted Battery: If you have drained your car battery, you may also have drained the backup battery system that powers the airbags. Restarting your car’s main battery may solve the problem, but if not, you may need to have your backup battery recharged as well at a trusted service center.
- Faulty Sensors: As mentioned above, faulty sensors may cause airbag failure. Luckily, your car is able to detect this problem, and a trained mechanic will be able to help you.
- Damaged Airbag Clock Spring: This component connects the airbag itself to various important electronic components. Natural wear and tear can damage the clock spring over time, causing airbags not to work properly.
- Wet Airbag Module: Water damage might impact the airbag module. This is an important computer system that keeps your airbags functional. This computer may be the problem if your airbag indicator is on after your car has recently experienced unusually wet conditions.
- Sensors Activated: Your airbag light may be on because the aforementioned sensors have been activated. This can occur because a small collision in a parking lot, for example, can cause enough of a jolt to trigger the sensors but not enough to deploy the entire airbag. Though this may seem innocuous, it is still important to have a mechanic examine the issue.
- Child in the Passenger Seat: Generally, it is safer to have children ride in the backseat, but we understand that there are times where this is not feasible. Airbags are dangerous to children. Some newer cars have systems that shut off passenger-seat airbags when they detect someone of a significantly low weight in the passenger seat. If this happens, it is not necessarily a sign that anything is wrong with your airbags. Still, if you are unsure that this is the reason for the indicator light, you should have your car inspected just in case.
Trust the Experts at Momentum Motorworks
If you own a Mercedes, BMW, Audi, or Porsche, Momentum Motorworks can serve your airbag needs. You should come in if your indicator comes on. You should also take your car to us for preventative maintenance. Like other diagnostic tools, airbag lights may fail. A mechanic can spot airbag defects.
We are conveniently located in Birmingham, AL. We serve areas including Alabaster, Homewood, Helena, Hoover, Mountain Brook, and Vestavia. Call us today to set up an appointment to have your vehicle serviced so you can drive it with confidence.