What Are Curtain Airbags? (Are They Effective, How They Work + More)

For a time, there was only one type of airbag – frontal airbags. Now, however, there are many different types of airbags that offer extra protection during a car accident, such as curtain airbags.

However, if you’ve never heard of curtain airbags, you may wonder what they are and how they differ from frontal airbags. If you’d like to find out, keep reading to see what I learned!

What Are Curtain Airbags?

Curtain airbags are installed onto the side of your car and deploy like curtains over the window and door in the event of a car accident. They prevent your head from hitting the side of the car should you get into a side crash, and are known for being effective in their design and intent.

To find out how to tell if your car has airbags, as well as whether they’re actually effective, keep reading for more useful facts!

How Do I Know If My Car Has Curtain Airbags?

If your car has airbags, it will have an Airbag logo on the inner part of the B-Pillar.

You can also check your car’s manual for information on where the airbags are located, though the manual may not refer to them as “airbags” specifically (“inflation device” and similar terms are often used).

The symbol on the airbag is similar to the logo on the steering wheel, and any part of your vehicle that has an airbag in the car will have this symbol indicated.

What is the Difference Between Side Airbags and Curtain Airbags?

What is the Difference Between Side Airbags and Curtain Airbags?

Curtain airbags are a type of side airbag. Side airbags are any sort of airbag that goes on the side of the car and protects you from side impacts.

Read More:  How To Disable Airbags (Different Ways Listed + Can You)

Beyond that, there are types of side airbags, and the most common type are curtain airbags. These deploy from the car’s ceiling to protect your head from the window and are usually found in the front and back seats. However, some larger cars may have the third row covered as well.

Torso airbags are usually found on the sides of the seats. These protect your torso from collision, but they don’t do anything for your head. Usually, these are only found in the front seats, though some models also offer them in the back.

Side airbags are not limited to just these two types of airbags. However, these are the most common types.

Which Cars have Curtain Airbags?

There are lots of cars out there that currently have curtain airbags. These range in cost by a lot, so these aren’t just airbags for high-end cars. In many cases, they’re found in cars under $10,000.

Below is a list of some popular cars with side airbags:

  • 2007 Ford Fusion
  • 2005 Honda Accord
  • 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2006 Kia Sportage
  • 2007 Saturn Aura
  • 2007 Toyota Camry
  • 2007 Volkswagen Jetta

In addition to the vehicles on this list, there are new cars coming out all the time with these side airbags.

Are Curtain Airbags Effective?

Are Curtain Airbags Effective? 

Side airbags are decently effective at preventing injuries and fatalities, especially in side crashes. Up to 45% of brain injuries and deaths can be prevented with these airbags, therefore, these airbags are quite effective when utilized during dangerous crashes.

Without these airbags, there isn’t anything to protect your head from hitting the side of the car hard. Therefore, they’re instrumental in providing more safety and decreasing crash fatalities.

Read More:  24 Airbag Statistics, Facts & Trends (Guide)

Should I Buy a Car if the Curtain Airbags Have Been Deployed?

It isn’t necessarily bad if the curtain airbags have been deployed in a newly purchased vehicle, provided that the airbags have been replaced. However, this is a one-time-use situation, meaning you need to replace airbags every time you use them.

However, you should be getting a steep discount, since airbags only deploy in serious crashes. This isn’t counting accidental deployment, though, which is extremely rare.

With that said, you may wish to purchase a different car altogether, unless the model is so rare that finding another one is difficult, as purchasing a car that has previously been in accidents isn’t advisable.

At What Speed Do Side Curtain Airbags Deploy?

When side curtain airbags deploy, they move at a speed of about 495 mph. This is much faster than frontal airbags since these side airbags often have more room to cover before they come into contact with the passenger.

In fact, curtain airbags deploy about three times faster than frontal airbags. While frontal airbags take about .25 milliseconds to deploy, side curtain airbags take about .12 milliseconds.

Where Are Curtain Airbags Located?

Where Are Curtain Airbags Located?

Curtain airbags are located in the headliner above the car’s windows. When the sensor detects an accident, the airbags deploy over the windows like a curtain, hence the name.

Besides this slight difference, a curtain airbag is very similar to a frontal airbag. It breaks through the material on the inside of the car and protects the passengers from hitting the door.

Do You Need Side Curtain Airbags?

Because curtain airbags can greatly reduce your chance of severe injury or death during a side crash, these airbags are greatly recommended. You never know when you need an airbag, but having them installed will go far to preventing injuries during a crash.

Read More:  How Much Does It Cost To Replace Airbags? (Your Full Guide)

To learn more, you can also see our posts on how long do airbags last, what are advanced airbags, and how much does it cost to replace airbags.


Side curtain airbags go on the side of the car and come down like a curtain over the window and protect your head from hitting the side of the car. They’re specifically useful for side crashes, as they protect your head from these side impacts.

More and more cars are being made with these side airbags. Therefore, they’re becoming very popular and are saving more and more lives. They’re quite effective against side impacts, including against brain damage and neck injuries.

Leave a Comment