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How The Airbag Systems Work
The airbag control module determines if an impact is
severe enough to require the airbags to inflate. Based
on the level of collision severity, the control module
determines the proper rate of inflation. The front
airbag inflators are designed to provide different rates
of airbag inflation. The airbag control module will not
detect roll over collisions.
The airbag control module also monitors the readiness
of the electronic parts of the system whenever the
ignition switch is in the START or ON positions. These
include all of the items listed under “The Front Airbag
System”, except the passenger knee blocker, instru-
ment panel and the steering wheel and column. If the
key is in the OFF position, in the ACC position, or not
in the ignition switch, the front airbags are not on and
will not inflate.
The airbag control module sends a message
to the instrument cluster to turn on the
AIRBAG light in the instrument panel for 6
to 8 seconds when the ignition switch is first
turned ON, then turns the light off. If the airbag
control module detects a malfunction in any part of the
system, the airbag light will turn on either momen-
tarily or continuously.
Ignoring the AIRBAG light in your instrument panel
could mean you won’t have the airbags to protect
you in a collision. If the light does not come on, stays
on after you start the vehicle, or if it comes on as you
drive, have the airbag system checked right away.
48 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE STARTING YOUR VEHICLE