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What Makes The Airbags in a BMW Become Faulty?

BMW Airbag Warning Light

BMW is known for designing, manufacturing, and delivering cars, vans, and SUVs with exceptional quality, comfortable interiors, and a price point that many competitors cannot beat.

While this automotive manufacturer strives to produce top-rated vehicles, BMWs may develop issues with the airbags that can pose a safety risk to the driver and all other occupants of the vehicle. Many find themselves wondering, what makes the airbags become faulty? Continue on to learn more about your BMW airbag system.

How Airbags Work

An airbag is a nylon bag designed to inflate upon impact and reduce the risk of injury as the result of a motor vehicle collision by cushioning the contact that would be made between the occupants of the vehicle and the interior surfaces including hard plastic dashboards and glass window panes. When an accident occurs, the airbags within the vehicle are designed to inflate instantly and just as quickly, deflate after protecting the occupant from collision with the interior of the cabin.

The placement of airbags within a vehicle varies slightly from vehicle to vehicle. However, all vehicles are equipped with an airbag in the steering wheel, passenger side dashboard, and oftentimes along the sides of the doors within vehicle.

Commonly-Reported Causes of Airbag Failure

It is important that airbags deploy in the event of a severe motor collision. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that airbags in the front of vehicles reduce driver fatalities by 29%. In addition, data provided by NHTSA estimates that the combination of a seatbelt and a deployed airbag reduces death in head-on collisions by 61%.

While airbags were designed to keep drivers and other occupants safe, they can only do so if they deploy on impact. Airbags have been known to become faulty and not work when they are needed due to:

  • A defective airbag sensor: Each airbag is equipped with a sensor designed to send a signal to the airbag in the event of an accident severe enough to cause the airbags to deploy. When this sensor fails, the airbags will not deploy when needed upon impact. This can be the result of a manufacturer error, improper testing, software problems, or failing to install the sensor correctly.
  • The type of motor vehicle collision: An airbag is not designed to deploy with every collision, and the type of accident that has occurred can play a huge role in whether or not the airbags will deploy. If you were involved in a severe motor vehicle collision but the area of your vehicle that was hit was not near an airbag sensor, the airbag will not receive a signal that it is needed and will not deploy. This can occur during rollovers or side impacts.
  • Damaged wiring: All vehicles run various electrical components throughout requiring a significant amount of wiring to be strategically placed. When manufacturers fail to route the wiring in the appropriate areas and adequately protect it, it can become damaged or severed during an accident leaving the airbags unable to deploy on impact.

Let Our Nikolas Motorsport Family Take Care of You!

Nikolas Motorsport is a highly skilled service center helping BMW Airbag Impact Sensor drivers in the following areas in Michigan:

Our team of ASE Certified technicians believes in providing high-quality, dealership-alternative services to all customers. In addition, we back all work provided within our facility with an exceptional 2 Year/Unlimited mile warranty.


At Nikolas Motorsport, we understand the frustration behind needing work done to your vehicle, which is why we strive to make the process as simple as possible for you.

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