Why Didn’t My Airbags Deploy? (7 Reasons Why)

Whether minor or severe, a car accident can be quite a scary experience for any driver; therefore, safety devices such as airbags are necessary.

However, what if the airbags don’t deploy during an accident? What are some of the causes of this? Keep reading if you’d like to find out!

Why Didn’t My Airbags Deploy?

Airbags fail to deploy during a collision due to defective electrical components, faulty sensors, or damaged wiring. Your airbags could also fail to deploy due to the type of crash. If the sensors fail to detect the impact, your airbags will not inflate. This can be quite dangerous, especially if the crash is severe and leads to injuries.

Keep reading to learn more about why airbags don’t deploy, how to fix the airbag, why side airbags don’t deploy, and more facts!

Why Do Airbags Fail To Deploy?

A lot of drivers have, at one time or the other, encountered a problem where their airbags fail to deploy after a crash. Why does this happen? Here are some of the reasons:

1. Type Of Collision

Airbags are engineered to deploy when your car gets into a moderate to severe crash. According to the NHTSA, a moderate to severe crash is equivalent to hitting a fixed barrier at 8 to 14 mph or higher.

In addition, this is the same as hitting a parked car of the same size at 16-28 mph. Therefore, if the car crashes within this speed, the airbags should deploy.

However, if the impact is lower than this, the air sensors will not be triggered, and the airbags won’t inflate.

This mostly happens when the front airbags don’t fire up during collisions or rear impact crashes. In addition, the location of the impact is a better indicator of whether deployment should happen.

2. Severity Of The Crash

If you and your passengers are wearing seatbelts, the airbags might not deploy because the sensors detect that the belts are providing sufficient protection.

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When crash conditions are moderate, the seatbelt is enough; therefore, the airbag won’t need to be deployed.

3. Advanced Airbag Systems

Newer car models come with advanced systems that could automatically deactivate the passenger airbags; therefore, they won’t deploy during a crash. With these kinds of systems, the sensors might not detect a child or a small person.

4. Defective Airbag Sensors

Defective Airbag Sensors

For the airbag to deploy, the sensors need to detect the impact and trigger them to inflate. Therefore, when they fail to do so, the chances are that the sensors are damaged; therefore, they could not sense the impact from the collision.

Faulty sensors can be due to the manufacturer’s fault when they fail to test and install properly working sensors. Some automakers also include fewer airbag sensors, making it hard to detect a crash.

On the other hand, your mechanic might have messed up the sensors during replacement or failed to recalibrate them properly.

Once they fail to deploy, have them checked as soon as possible to protect yourself and your passengers.

5. Faulty Electrical Components

Your car is made up of electrical systems and wiring that ensures the vehicle is functioning properly.

When the electrical components are defective, the sensors can’t communicate the impact signal to the car’s computer system or to the airbags. For instance, if you have faulty clock springs under the steering wheel, the airbags will not deploy when they should.

If you notice that some airbags deploy while others don’t, the electrical parts and wiring might be the problem. In addition, when these components are down, the signal could be transferred, but the airbag will still not inflate.

6. Severed Wiring

During manufacturing, some companies route the wires through parts that make them susceptible to severing.

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If your car’s wiring is installed through such areas, they become prone to damage, stopping the impact signals from reaching the airbag. When this happens, the airbag won’t deploy.

7. No Airbag

7. No Airbag

If your car is used or older, the previous owner might not have replaced the airbags after a crash, even though airbags should be replaced each time you get into a crash.

Therefore, if you didn’t confirm this, your car might not have airbags to deploy during a collision, which is quite dangerous.

What Do I Do If The Airbag Didn’t Deploy?

If your airbag didn’t deploy, here are some of the things you can do depending on the severity of the crash:

1. Check For Injuries

After an accident or collision, check that all the passengers in your car are safe and not injured. Airbags are meant to protect car occupants, so if they don’t deploy, it’s highly likely that someone might get injured.

Therefore, contact emergency services for medical assistance or take your passenger to the hospital if they suffered injuries.

2. Inspect The Car

Before proceeding to drive, inspect your car for any damages that would hinder its functionality. If the car is not totaled, you can drive to a gas station for a check-up or repair. Take pictures of the accident scene and collect all the necessary information.

3. Report The Crash To The Police

If you are injured from the accident and need to file insurance claims against the manufacturer, you need to report the car crash to the police.

This is important, especially if the airbags didn’t deploy, and will be included in the police report to support your claim.

Car owners sue manufacturers for injuries from airbag inflation. Therefore, if you also get injuries from an airbag that didn’t deploy, you can seek damages if it’s the manufacturer’s fault.

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Why Didn’t My Side Airbags Deploy?

During a side-impact collision, your side airbags might fail to deploy if the sensors are not working correctly. In addition, they might not inflate if the impact is not too severe to warrant the deployment.

On some occasions, your side airbags might be the only ones that fail to deploy. When this happens, you need to have them checked as soon as possible. Your mechanic can determine whether the sensors are broken and if the airbag system needs replacement.

Why Didn’t My Airbags Deploy When I Was Rear-Ended?

Why Didn’t My Airbags Deploy When I Was Rear-Ended?

Most airbags are designed to inflate during a front collision to protect the car occupants during head-on crashes. Therefore, when you’re rear-ended, they might not deploy.

In addition, they might also not deploy if your speed is lower than 8 mph. However, if you have installed rear airbags and the car pushes your vehicle towards an object or another car, the sensors might detect the crash and trigger the airbags to inflate.

Why Did My Airbag Not Deploy When I Hit A Deer?

It’s quite common for drivers to hit a deer when driving, as deers cause 1 million accidents in the U.S. each year. However, your airbags might not deploy when you hit a deer because the inflation depends on the impact areas and your speed.

To know more, you can also read our related posts on what are airbags filled with, if airbags work when car is off, and if you can sell used airbags.


Airbags protect the driver and the car occupants from injuries during a crash. However, the airbags fail to deploy in some situations, resulting in minor or severe injuries.

Your vehicle’s airbags fail to deploy due to faulty components, defective sensors, or damaged wiring. In addition, the sensors don’t trigger the airbags to deflate if it’s a minor accident that doesn’t need airbags.

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