What Will You See After an Airbag Inflates?

After the frontal airbags and seat-mounted side impact airbags inflate, they quickly deflate, so quickly that some people may not even realize an airbag inflated.

Roof-rail airbags may still be at least partially inflated for some time after they deploy. Some components of the airbag module may be hot for several minutes. For location of the airbag modules, see What Makes an Airbag Inflate?.

The parts of the airbag that come into contact with you may be warm, but not too hot to touch. There may be some smoke and dust coming from the vents in the deflated airbags. Airbag inflation does not prevent the driver from seeing out of the windshield or being able to steer the vehicle, nor does it prevent people from leaving the vehicle.

WARNING:
When an airbag inflates, there may be dust in the air. This dust could cause breathing problems for people with a history of asthma or other breathing trouble. To avoid this, everyone in the vehicle should get out as soon as it is safe to do so. If you have breathing problems but cannot get out of the vehicle after an airbag inflates, then get fresh air by opening a window or a door. If you experience breathing problems following an airbag deployment, you should seek medical attention.

The vehicle has a feature that may automatically unlock the doors, turn on the interior lamps and hazard warning flashers, and shut off the fuel system after the airbags inflate. You can lock the doors, turn off the interior lamps and hazard warning flashers by using the controls for those features.

WARNING:
A crash severe enough to inflate the airbags may have also damaged important functions in the vehicle, such as the fuel system, brake and steering systems, etc. Even if the vehicle appears to be drivable after a moderate crash, there may be concealed damage that could make it difficult to safely operate the vehicle.
Use caution if you should attempt to restart the engine after a crash has occurred.

In many crashes severe enough to inflate the airbag, windshields are broken by vehicle deformation.

Additional windshield breakage may also occur from the right front passenger airbag.

• Airbags are designed to inflate only once. After an airbag inflates, you will need some new parts for the airbag system. If you do not get them, the airbag system will not be there to help protect you in another crash. A new system will include airbag modules and possibly other parts. The service manual for your vehicle covers the need to replace other parts.

• The vehicle has a crash sensing and diagnostic module which records information after a crash.

See Vehicle Data Recording and Privacy and Event Data Recorders.

• Let only qualified technicians work on the airbag systems. Improper service can mean that an airbag system will not work properly. See your dealer/retailer for service.

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