Buick Regal Owners & Service Manuals

Buick Regal: When Should an Airbag Inflate?

This vehicle is equipped with airbags. Airbags are designed to inflate if the impact exceeds the specific airbag system's deployment threshold.

Deployment thresholds are used to predict how severe a crash is likely to be in time for the airbags to inflate and help restrain the occupants. The vehicle has electronic sensors that help the airbag system determine the severity of the impact. Deployment thresholds can vary with specific vehicle design.

Frontal airbags are designed to inflate in moderate to severe frontal or near frontal crashes to help reduce the potential for severe injuries, mainly to the driver's or front outboard passenger's head and chest.

Whether the frontal airbags will or should inflate is not based primarily on how fast the vehicle is traveling.

It depends on what is hit, the direction of the impact, and how quickly the vehicle slows down.

Frontal airbags may inflate at different crash speeds depending on whether the vehicle hits an object straight on or at an angle, and whether the object is fixed or moving, rigid or deformable, narrow or wide.

Frontal airbags are not intended to inflate during vehicle rollovers, in rear impacts, or in many side impacts.

In addition, the vehicle has advanced technology frontal airbags. Advanced technology frontal airbags adjust the restraint according to either crash severity or occupant interaction.

Knee airbags are designed to inflate in moderate to severe frontal or near frontal impacts. Knee airbags are not designed to inflate during vehicle rollovers, in rear impacts, or in many side impacts.

Seat-mounted side impact airbags are designed to inflate in moderate to severe side crashes depending on the location of the impact.

Seat-mounted side impact airbags are not designed to inflate in frontal impacts, near frontal impacts, rollovers, or rear impacts.

A seat-mounted side impact airbag is designed to inflate on the side of the vehicle that is struck.

Roof-rail airbags are designed to inflate in moderate to severe side crashes depending on the location of the impact. In addition, these roof-rail airbags are designed to inflate during a rollover or in a severe frontal impact. Roof-rail airbags are not designed to inflate in rear impacts. Both roof-rail airbags will inflate when either side of the vehicle is struck, if the sensing system predicts that the vehicle is about to roll over on its side, or in a severe frontal impact.

In any particular crash, no one can say whether an airbag should have inflated simply because of the vehicle damage or repair costs.

What Makes an Airbag Inflate?

In a deployment event, the sensing system sends an electrical signal triggering a release of gas from the inflator. Gas from the inflator fills the airbag causing the bag to break out of the cover. The inflator, the airbag, and related hardware are all part of the airbag module.

How Does an Airbag Restrain?

In moderate to severe frontal or near frontal collisions, even belted occupants can contact the steering wheel or the instrument panel. In moderate to severe side collisions, even belted occupants can contact the inside of the vehicle.

Airbags supplement the protection provided by seat belts by distributing the force of the impact more evenly over the occupant's body.

Rollover capable roof-rail airbags are designed to help contain the head and chest of occupants in the outboard seating positions in the first and second rows. The rollover capable roof-rail airbags are designed to help reduce the risk of full or partial ejection in rollover events, although no system can prevent all such ejections.

But airbags would not help in many types of collisions, primarily because the occupant's motion is not toward those airbags.

Airbags should never be regarded as anything more than a supplement to seat belts.

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