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Discussion Starter #1
Hope someone can answer this question for me. I know this has nothing to do with anything on here, but someone please help me out...

My girlfriend has a 2003 Focus, just hit a telephone pole head on in the nice snow storm we had here in NJ over the weekend. She wasn't going fast at all, maybe 15-20 MPH, and the whole front of the car is wrecked. I know about "crumple zones", but this is ridiculous. I think it really says something about the quality of the car, but that's another discussion. The question is, her airbags didn't even go off, and I was wondering if anyone knows if they are triggered by impact only, or impact + speed? For the damage to the car, I think they definitely should have gone off.
 

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I believe the airbags are triggered by the force of the impact, not the speed of it. so even though she hit a pole, it didn't have sufficient force to trigger the airbags.
 

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On a similar note, I've seen several GMC pickups (2001+) in front end collisions. One of them T-Boned a toyota at about 60 (while pulling a 30' 5th wheel camper), and the other I don't know what it hit, but it looked worse than the one that hit the Toyota, and neither one deployed the airbags...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the responses...though I can't believe this! Luckily I have never been in an accident where I would need my airbags, but if I did, I feel much better knowing that they will be nice and safe in my steering wheel and dash. I wouldn't want my airbags getting damaged!
 

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Lobird91 plowed into a concrete pillar in his 02 F150 going much less than 5mph and it deployed both airbags. I plowed my bird into a parked trailer going 5-10mph and it didn't deploy the bags, thankfully.

I think its a combination of impact force, as well as sensor location. You say the whole front end is wrecked, how much is "the whole front end"?
 

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jay55r said:
Thanks for the responses...though I can't believe this! Luckily I have never been in an accident where I would need my airbags, but if I did, I feel much better knowing that they will be nice and safe in my steering wheel and dash. I wouldn't want my airbags getting damaged!
well hopefully you'll be wearing your seatbelt in any event. I bet though, that if you were in a crash and you needed your airbags, they'd be right in your face, and believe me, they hurt when they hit.

low speed crashes (those under 20 mph) rarely trigger the airbags, especially in smaller cars, or so I have seen from accidents. unless you hit just right.

You really want to know if the bags are working? find the sensor under the hood, and whack it with a hammer ;) that'll prove they work........

(NOTE: do not hit sensor with hammer, unless you really want to spend close to $1000 for new airbags, and possible have to repair/replace the cracked dash :D )
 

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Cougar281 said:
On a similar note, I've seen several GMC pickups (2001+) in front end collisions. One of them T-Boned a toyota at about 60 (while pulling a 30' 5th wheel camper), and the other I don't know what it hit, but it looked worse than the one that hit the Toyota, and neither one deployed the airbags...
I've heard reports of the newer Chevy Impalas airbags failing to deploy in pretty severe accidents. I wonder if GM has defective sensors or bags.

I've also heard that newer vehicles have the bags set to deply at lower speeds so they can open more slowly. This reduces the chances that the driver will be injured by the airbag itself. It would seem to me that if it opened slower for low speed wrecks, it wouldn't open fast enough for harder wrecks, though. Personally, I prefer them to open only in wrecks at higher speeds, like our cars are supposed to. I wear my seatbelt and if the airbags aren't necessary to save me, I don't want to have to replace them or get hit by them.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
By the whole front end, I mean bumper broken in half, whatever brace/support is behind that is broken in half, front of frame(?) behind that bent into the radiator, radiator pushed back and bent in. Hood crushed pretty good, Passenger side headlamp is gone and area surrounding it is pretty smashed, and that is all I could see w/o opening the hood. I don't know what else is damaged under there.
 

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I'd say thats pretty much the front end of the car, with that much damage, I wonder why the airbags DIDN'T deploy...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Another way of saying "the whole front end"...She just the estimate for this from the insurance compnay...$7100. Maybe they will just get her a nice Tbird for that much instead?? :)
 

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jay55r said:
Another way of saying "the whole front end"...She just the estimate for this from the insurance compnay...$7100. Maybe they will just get her a nice Tbird for that much instead?? :)
I like the TBird idea. :D
 

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The air bag goes off when the car decelerates quickly enough to set off a switch (like an inertia switch). It's a little black box with a white sticker and it has a blue arrow reading "Forward" can't remember where it is on my bird though. This girl was talking the other day about how she wrecked her car and her mechanic told her that if she would've hit about one inch closer to the sensor, her bags would've gone off. The guy just had to be trying to make the girl feel lucky. A faulty switch could cause it to go off at the wrong times, or maybe certain freak circumstances...like hitting the pole going 5. I really find the whole sensor location thing hard to believe....it could be anywhere on the car and still work.
-Rob
 

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i bought my tbird for 1200 bucks, they lady hit a deer and it deployed both airbags at about 15 MPH, cracked the dash, it sucks, althought im not replacing the bags, just aftermarket steeringwheel, gonna go try and get it legal tommorow! hopefully they legalize it!
 

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hotbird said:


Exactly. It depends how quick the car decelerates.
There's nothin quite like a sudden, unscheduled stop for quick deceleration
 

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Discussion Starter #17
That's what I was thinking, and that would lead me to believe that there is something wrong in her car then. We'll have to contact the dealer to check it out, just in case she ever is in an accident and really does need them.
 

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imagine a glass ball with a pendulum inside, if it hits hard enough, it breaks the glass, makes contact and sets off the bags. thats why you have to replace the sensor every time they pop. I seriously doubt your system is faulty. The focus comes apart like that to save your life, they look horrible when wrecked, but arent that bad to fix. 7100 is way high on a front ender. Must be state farm and dealership body shop right?
 

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JohnNaas said:
imagine a glass ball with a pendulum inside, if it hits hard enough, it breaks the glass, makes contact and sets off the bags. thats why you have to replace the sensor every time they pop. I seriously doubt your system is faulty. The focus comes apart like that to save your life, they look horrible when wrecked, but arent that bad to fix. 7100 is way high on a front ender. Must be state farm and dealership body shop right?
Frame bending can make all the difference in the world on repair costs....
 

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Airbag systems are setup where is takes 2 different actions to set it of. If you wack the sensor and the car isn't moving its not going to set the airbags off (don't try it though). Vehical speed, number of crash sensors set off (there are atleast 2 crash sensors), and vehical deceleration.
 
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