Hyundai Tucson Owners & Service Manuals

Hyundai Tucson: Supplemental Restraint System - Airbags / How does the Airbag System Operate?

The SRSCM (Supplemental Restraint System Control Module) continually monitors all SRS components while the ignition switch is ON to determine if a crash impact is severe enough to require airbag deployment or pretensioner seat belt deployment.

During a moderate to severe frontal collision, sensors detect the vehicle’s rapid deceleration. If the rate of deceleration is high enough, the SRSCM inflates the front airbags with the force needed.

The front airbags help protect the driver and front passenger by responding to frontal impacts in which seat belts alone cannot provide adequate restraint. When needed, the side airbags help provide protection in the event of a side impact or rollover by supporting the side upper body area.

  • Airbags are activated (able to inflate if necessary) only when the ignition switch is in the ON or START position, and it may be activated within 3 minutes after the engine is turned off.
  • Airbags inflate in the event of certain frontal or side collisions to help protect the occupants from serious physical injury.
  • There is no single speed at which the airbags will inflate. Generally, airbags are designed to inflate based upon the severity of a collision and its direction. Airbag deployment also depends on a number of other factors including vehicle speed, angles of impact and the density and stiffness of the vehicles or objects which your vehicle impacts during a collision. The determining factors are not limited to those mentioned above.
  • The front airbags completely inflate and deflate in an instant. It is virtually impossible for you to see the airbags inflate during an accident. It is much more likely that you simply see the deflated airbags hanging out of their storage compartments after the collision.
  • In addition to inflating in serious side collisions, vehicles equipped with a rollover sensor, side and/or curtain airbags inflate if the sensing system detects a rollover. When a rollover is detected, curtain airbags remain inflated longer to help provide protection from ejection, especially when used in conjunction with the seat belts, (if equipped with a rollover sensor).
  • To help provide protection, the airbags must inflate rapidly. The speed of airbag inflation is a consequence of extremely short time in which the airbag inflates between the occupant and the vehicle structures before the occupant impacts those structures. This speed of inflation reduces the risk of serious or life-threatening injuries and is thus a necessary part of airbag design. However, the rapid airbag inflation may also cause injuries that include facial abrasions, bruises, and broken bones because the inflation speed also causes the airbags to expand with great force.
  • There are even circumstances under which contact with the airbag may cause fatal injuries, especially when the occupant is positioned excessively close to the airbag.

You can take steps to reduce the risk of being injured by an inflating airbag. The greatest risk is sitting too close to the airbag. An airbag needs about 10 in. (25 cm) of space to inflate. NHTSA recommends that drivers allow at least 10 in. (25 cm) between the center of the steering wheel and the chest.


To reduce the risk of serious injury or death from an inflating airbag:

  • Never place a child restraint in the front passenger seat. Always properly restrain children under age 13 in the rear seats of the vehicle.
  • Adjust the front passenger’s and driver's seats as far to the rear as possible while maintaining you to maintain full control of the vehicle.
  • Hold the steering wheel with hands at the 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock positions.
  • Never place anything or anyone between the airbag and the seat occupant.
  • Do not allow the front passenger to place their feet or legs on the dashboard.

When the SRSCM detects a sufficiently severe impact to the front of the vehicle, it automatically deploys the front airbags.

Upon deployment, tear seam in the pad cover separates from the expansion of the airbags.

A fully inflated airbag, in combination with a properly worn seat belt, slows the driver’s or the front passenger’s forward motion, reducing the risk of head and chest injury.

After complete inflation, the airbag immediately starts deflating, enabling the driver to maintain forward visibility and steer or operate other controls.


To prevent objects from becoming dangerous projectiles when the passenger’s airbag inflates:

  • Do not install or place any objects (drink holder, CD holder, stickers, etc.) on the front passenger’s panel above the glove box where the passenger’s airbag is located.
  • Do not install a container of liquid air freshener near the instrument cluster or on the instrument panel surface.
    Curtain airbags
    Curtain airbags are located along both sides of the roof rails above the front and rear doors. They are designed to help protect the heads of the front seat occupants and the rear outboar ...

    What to Expect After an Airbag Inflates
    After a frontal or side airbag inflates, it deflates very quickly. Airbag inflation does not prevent the driver from seeing out of the windshield or being able to steer. Curtain airbags may re ...

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