One of the most important safety components of your car is the airbags. It’s designed to provide drivers with crucial cushioning during auto crashes. Normally, airbags are usually hidden but as soon as the need for them to work arises, they instantly inflate, protecting the driver from experiencing severe injuries to the head and chest.
Furthermore, you need to understand that airbags don’t always deploy without a reason. The airbag system’s electronic control unit has a sensor that detects when there is a minor or severe collision. After detecting any crash, it instantly sends a signal to the inflator within the airbag module – this is how the airbag deployment works.
It’s very possible to have airbags deployed when your car is idling. Airbags can deploy even when a vehicle is parked. However, this will only happen if the airbag still possesses enough stored battery power to make the deployment happen.
What exactly triggers the airbag deployment? Is it possible for airbags to deploy when your vehicle is parked? At what speed are airbags deployed? Do airbags deploy for no reason? As you read through the rest of this article, you’ll find answers to the frequently asked questions above.
What Triggers Airbag Deployment?
As you now know, your vehicle’s airbags aren’t installed to deploy for no reason. They are safety components of your car and since that’s the case, they only work when there’s a need for you to stay safe when driving your car.
Your vehicle’s airbags will, most likely, not inflate except there’s a moderate or severe auto crash or collision. But how exactly will the airbag understand that an automobile crash or collision is severe, moderate, or normal?
To have a better understanding of how that works, let’s talk about what the airbag system includes.
Here are the airbag basics
For those who don’t know, the airbag system consists of three basic components; the airbag module, diagnostic unit, and crash sensors.
The airbag module, which is also known as the airbag electronic crash unit, is the component responsible for controlling your airbag’s deployment. That’s not all; the module is also the component in charge of storing crash data and exchanging the data with your vehicle’s engine.
The crash sensor of your airbag system, which is also called the impact sensor, is usually fitted to the front of a car. The sensor is engineered to detect a frontal impact. And as soon as it does, a signal is sent instantly and directly to the inflator within the airbag module.
The importance of the crash sensor is to check, understand, and measure the intensity of the car collision. This way, it gets to determine whether or not the impact of the crash is enough to trigger the release of the airbags.
Interestingly, the crash sensor is designed to respond to crashes in seconds. The sensor works based on this principle:
- First, it’ll detect a decrease in acceleration of your moving car.
- After that, it generates an electrical impulse, before sending the signal to the airbag module.
Here’s what triggers the airbag deployment
The deployment of the airbags only occurs during a moderate or severe auto crash or collision. In this situation, the crash sensor will sense and detect whether or not the crash is dangerous enough. If the crash is severe, the sensor will send a signal immediately to the inflator within the airbag module.
With that, it’s safe to say that the signal sent from the crash sensor directly to the inflator is what is responsible for triggering the airbag redeployment. However, you need to understand that this won’t be possible if not for the crash sensor and the airbag module.
The bottom line is that the crash sensor, the inflation, and the airbag module – all play important roles in the deployment of a vehicle’s airbags.
Do Airbags Deploy When Your Car Is Parked?
Yes; your airbags can always deploy even when your car is parked. The only way this will happen, however, is if your airbag system has enough stored battery power. With that, it means the engine of the car was only turned off recently.
How long your airbag can reserve power varies depending on the type of car you’re using. Generally, airbags should be able to, at least, reserve battery for ten minutes.
No; your airbags will most likely not deploy when the vehicle has been parked for several hours. At this point, the airbag system would have lost the battery power stored to make the airbag deployment happen.
So, the bottom line is that your airbags can always deploy when you park your car. However, you need to understand that this is only possible if there’s enough stored power to make the deployment project work.
At What Speed Are Airbags Deployed?
As earlier mentioned, airbags deployment works on the principle of detecting a decrease in acceleration of a car in motion and generating an electric impulse.
That said, if a passenger is not using a seatbelt, a front airbag will most likely deploy when the impact is at a speed of 10-12 mph.
As for a belted passenger, the deployment speed of the airbags is usually higher. It most likely occurs at a threshold of about 16 mph.
Do Airbags Deploy For No Reason?
No, your airbags will not deploy if there’s no sense of auto collision by the crash sensor. The airbag deployment will only occur after the sensor has detected a crash and sent a signal directly to the inflator to release the airbag.