Chevrolet Cobalt Owners Manual: When Should an Airbag Inflate?

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 right front passenger's head and chest. However, they are only designed to inflate if the impact exceeds a predetermined 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.

Whether your frontal airbags will or should deploy is not based on how fast your vehicle is traveling. It depends largely on what you hit, the direction of the impact, and how quickly your vehicle slows down.

Frontal airbags may inflate at different crash speeds.

For example:
- If the vehicle hits a stationary object, the airbags could inflate at a different crash speed than if the vehicle hits a moving object.

- If the vehicle hits an object that deforms, the airbags could inflate at a different crash speed than if the vehicle hits an object that does not deform.

- If the vehicle hits a narrow object (like a pole), the airbags could inflate at a different crash speed than if the vehicle hits a wide object (like a wall).

- If the vehicle goes into an object at an angle, the airbags could inflate at a different crash speed than if the vehicle goes straight into the object.

Thresholds can also vary with specific vehicle design.

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

In addition, your vehicle has dual-stage frontal airbags.

Dual-stage airbags adjust the restraint according to crash severity. Your vehicle has an electronic frontal sensor, which helps the sensing system distinguish between a moderate frontal impact and a more severe frontal impact. For moderate frontal impacts, dual-stage airbags inflate at a level less than full deployment.

For more severe frontal impacts, full deployment occurs.

Your vehicle may have roof-rail airbags. See Airbag System. Roof-rail airbags are intended to inflate in moderate to severe side crashes. Roof-rail airbags will inflate if the crash severity is above the system's designed threshold level. The threshold level can vary with specific vehicle design.

Roof-rail airbags are not intended to inflate in frontal impacts, near-frontal impacts, rollovers, or rear impacts.

A roof-rail airbag is intended to deploy on the side of the vehicle that is struck.

In any particular crash, no one can say whether an airbag should have inflated simply because of the damage to a vehicle or because of what the repair costs were. For frontal airbags, inflation is determined by what the vehicle hits, the angle of the impact, and how quickly the vehicle slows down. For roof-rail airbags, deployment is determined by the location and severity of the side impact.

    Where Are the Airbags?
    The driver's frontal airbag is in the middle of the steering wheel. The right front passenger's airbag is in the instrument panel on the passenger's side. Driver Side shown, Passenger Side s ...

    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 ...

    See also:

    Chevrolet Cobalt Service & Repair Manual. Computer Relearn Procedure
    Body Control Module (BCM) Connect a Tech 2 or suitably programmed scan tool to Data Link Connector (DLC) and follow manufacturer's instructions. Dash Integration Module (DIM) Connect a Tech 2 or suitably programmed scan tool to Data Link Connector (DLC) and follow m ...

    Chevrolet Cobalt Owners Manual

    Chevrolet Cobalt Service Manual


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