Air Bag Report

6 June 2016

Airbags are a form of car safety controls similar to seatbelts. They are a form of cushions filled with gas, which are inbuilt into the dashboard, door, steering wheel, seat, or top of the car that operates with the help of a sensor, which detects crashes to set off a quick opening out to shield the inmates from the influence of an accident.

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The invention of the air bag can be traced back to 1951 when German, Walter Linderer and American, John Hedrik submitted patents for air bags. Walter Linderer’s airbag worked by using compressed air system, which would either be released by the contact of the bumper or by the driver. Further research showed that air compressed bags could not blow fast. Linderer and John Hedrik received patents for airbags. Later different car manufacturers started the manufacture of airbags, until they became compulsory in all cars from 1998.

Frontal airbags and different kinds of side impact airbags are the two mostly used types. Some advanced type of frontal air bag systems can involuntarily find out what level of power the driver and passenger frontal air bag can inflate. Depending on the sensor inputs that can typically detect the position of the seat, the size of the occupant, the severity of the crash, and the way the seat belt is used, the suitable level of power is based.

If the side of a vehicle is involved in a severe crash, then side impact air bags are very helpful in protecting the head and chest of the passenger. Head side impact air bag, chest side impact air bag and a combination of head and chest airbags are three of the main side impact air bags.

Frontal air bags are regularly used. During a crash as the occupant of the vehicle moves forward, the air bag can protect the person in many ways.  It slows deceleration of the occupant by letting the air out at a controlled rate. It is not necessary that an air bag should take some time to deflate, inflation and deflation of the air bag occurs very quickly. The airbag prevents the head and the chest of the occupant from hitting against the steering wheel, the windscreen and the dashboard.

The possibility of compression of the occupant’s chest is minimized, as there is enough space to control the occupant’s frontward movement in contrast to a safety belt. Air bags work in conjunction with safety belts. Air bags have been designed to complement safety belts, but not to substitute them. Some air bags will be activated only in crashes, which are severe enough to endanger occupants who have safety belts also.

The main components of an air bag are, air bag module and trim cover, airbag system labels, clock spring, diagnostic backup power, resistor modules and brackets, sensors and sensor brackets, wiring harnesses and connectors, knee bolster or diverter, seat belts and seat belt tensioners if provided.

To check the operation of an air bag install a scan tool or jumper wire to allow reading of current and history codes, follow the vehicle makers recommendations, turn the ignition on, observe the air bag dash lamp, make sure it is operating properly, if the lamp shows a system problem, check the manual and repair it and then repeat the previous steps, clear all the previous codes using the procedure and the equipment required which is recommended, disarm the system according to recommendations, remove the air bag stimulator or road tool, install the air bag modules, re-activate the system according to instructions, check that the dash lamp goes off and finally take a road test of the vehicle to check the proper operation of the dash lamp and other electrical devices.

If the dash lamp is still on or flashing, there is still some problem, which needs to be rectified by repeating the above steps.

If an air bag deployment occurred, the air bag system should be serviced. The servicing should include disarming the inactive control system by following the vehicle maker’s instructions. The interior of the vehicle should be cleaned and the air bags should be disposed. A load tool or an air bag module stimulator should be installed.

The necessary repairs should be done and it should be seen that the structure of the vehicle and the sensor mounting locations are correctly restored. Instructions should be followed for post deployment checking and replacement. The system should be re-activated, the simulator or load tool should be installed. Finally the air bag system operation should be checked.

The parts that must be inspected and tested for damage are the inner door trim panels, dash panel and support brackets, instrumental panel steering column braces, seats and headrests, steering column levers and steering column, switches, steering wheel, horn, damage to the windshield and correct sticking to to the opening, child seat if provided and sensor mounting positions.

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