Air bag questions

Today, I gave my boss a ride to the airport. Between musing that the IT guy he’d brought with him was probably enjoying the rush hour traffic because he was on overtime and observing that he’d really been expecting a bit more aggressive driving out of me, he popped the cover off of the passenger side airbag. He inspected the air bag, then popped the cover back in place, then repeated.

Should an air bag cover just sorta pop out in your hand like that? Was their some danger with my boss poking around the bag? Doesn’t it use some kind of explosive?

Well… airbags use sodium azide, ignited electrically. I guess this means that unless you short something out (unlikely unless it’s poorly built), it’s not gonna go off. The cover over the airbag should pop off when the bag inflates, so it’s not going to be held on too tightly. If you know how, I can easily imagine taking it off by hand.

As for whether it’s dangerous - I don’t know. I’d like to try something like that myself, but I don’t know where all the sensors are for that kind of thing, and what not to do with them. (That box under the passenger seat houses most of them, IIRC). Also, I historically stick to disassembling terminally broken items, lest I find a spring disappearing over my shoulder, never to be seen again. 'specially bad for important stuff like that.

Dunno what I’d do if my boss started taking my car apart on the road. Probably go faster. Did it work on you? :smiley:

Yeah, I punched it, which was probably all he really wanted. He knows his way around people.

Ringo What kind of car?
While none of the cars I teach on or I am familar with have removable covers, it is possible to build an airbag that way.

FWIW we had one model car where the dash cover was glued over the bag, and some of the dashes had a problem with the glue and a corner of the pass bag would lift. If the customer tried to remove the cover they found out that this was a one way trip.

Rick, it’s a BMW 740iL. Frankly, to me it looks like the cover is possibly a little UV (or sunlight) warped. The main thing I’m concerned about is whether or not it represents a danger to my passengers.

Ringo If the cover was glued down then there is a slight risk in the event of an accident. I am unaware of any risk of accidental deployment from the cover being torn loose.
What should happen in an accident is the cover will rip/tear/open in a predetermied fashion. If your boss tore the cover clean off the bag, then in the event of an accident the cover will become a flying object that could smack the passenger (or even the driver) in the face. Needless to say, this could hurt and do damage.

Now if you have got the nerve, swing by the BMW dealership and ask them. If they say the cover needs to be replaced, get a written estimate and present it to your boss. Ask him just how he would like to pay for the damage he did to your car.
[This may not work, but it will make you a legend at your work.
“Yeah Ringo had balls allright, gave the big boss a bill. Yup, ole Ringo has balls the size of grapefruits. I wonder where he is working now?”]

Never, ever sit in the passenger seat of the vehicle again.

Make sure your boss sits there, and you drive. If you then get in accident and the air bag fails, a lesson will be learned – the hard way.


Your boss sounds like a complete cunt.

Nah, I made him sound like a complete cunt; he’s actually a pretty cool guy. He just needs to drive us forward.