Have you ever wondered if, in the event of an accident, the steering wheel cover affects the deployment of the airbag? It’s a question that has been asked by drivers for years. Many people believe that the extra fabric or material on the wheel can prevent the airbag from deploying correctly in the event of a crash.
But does it make a difference? Do you think the use of a steering wheel cover can cause any form of injury to the driver or passenger(s) if the airbag goes off? In this article, we will take a look at some of the research on the subject and find out what scientists have to say about it so do stick with me and let us have this discussion.
The answer, according to researchers, is no. In a study conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, it was found that “the addition of a steering wheel cover does not appreciably affect airbag performance.” The study looked at 11 different types of covers and found that in each case, the airbag deployed correctly and with enough force to protect the driver or passenger from serious injury. It is also worth noting that the study found no evidence to suggest that any of the covers caused any sort of injury when the airbag was deployed.
Things to know about airbags
Now that we have concluded that steering wheel covers do not affect airbags let’s learn about airbags and how it behaves.
While airbags are proven to prevent serious injuries and save lives, they can also be pretty dangerous. Thus, it is imperative to know how they function.
As an airbag inflates, it pushes its way out from between a split in the cover so none of the steering wheel (or cover), dashboard, or other surfaces in front hits the driver’s face or body.
To explain further, when an airbag deploys, its hard case splits along designed weakness lines and opens wide to allow the bag to come out.
The airbag’s case is made tough so it doesn’t fracture and send shrapnel towards the driver. At the same time, in the event of an accident, seatbelt pre-tensioners would also deploy, ensuring that the driver is pulled away from the airbag action.
The steering wheel cover generally has either a horizontal or vertical groove on the inside which acts as a weak spot. When an airbag pops out, the two halves are held in place by strong pins and simply fold out of the way.
Pros of airbags
There are so many advantages of using airbags.
1. They provide extra protection:
Airbags are designed to work with seatbelts to help keep people in their seats and reduce the forward movement during a collision. They protect the driver and passengers from flying through the windshield or being ejected from the vehicle.
2. They help prevent injuries:
In a frontal collision, an airbag can help protect the driver and passengers from serious injuries such as broken bones, internal bleeding, and head or neck injuries because they are designed to cushion the impact.
3. They are pretty reliable:
Airbags have been around for decades and have a proven track record of saving lives. They are so reliable that most newer vehicles have multiple airbags.
4. They offer protection for all body types:
Smaller individuals may not have as much padding on their bodies as larger individuals, so airbags can help protect them from serious injuries.
5. They can save lives:
Airbags have been proven to be effective in saving lives and reducing the severity of injuries. in a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it was found that “the use of seat belts in conjunction with airbags reduces the risk of fatal injury to front-seat occupants by about 45 percent.”
Cons of airbags
While there are many pros to using airbags, it is important to know the cons as well.
1. Airbags can cause injuries:
While they are designed to protect people from serious injuries, airbags can also cause injuries such as cuts, bruises, burns, and even broken bones. In some cases, these injuries can be severe and even life-threatening.
2. They can deploy at the wrong time:
There have been instances where airbags have deployed when they were not supposed to. This can happen if the vehicle is involved in a minor collision or if the airbag sensor is damaged.
3. They can be expensive to replace:
If an airbag deploys, it will need to be replaced. Airbags can be expensive to replace, so it is important to know how much it would cost to replace one before you buy a car.
What could obstruct the airbag compartment?
There are many instances where things in your car can obstruct your airbag deployment. Some examples are:
1. A steering wheel cover that is too thick or not compatible with the car.
Even though we concluded that steering wheel covers don’t impede airbags it is worth knowing that if you have a steering wheel cover that is too thick or not compatible with your car, it could cause the airbag to deploy in the wrong way or not at all. If you are unsure about your steering wheel cover, it is best to consult with a professional.
2. A phone mount that is attached to the dashboard or windscreen.
If you have a phone mount that is attached to the dashboard or windscreen, it could be in the way of the airbag deployment. It is important to make sure that your phone mount is not obstructing your airbags before you get into an accident.
3. An aftermarket stereo system.
An aftermarket stereo system can interfere with the sensors in your car which can cause the airbags to deploy in the wrong way or not at all. If you have an aftermarket stereo system, it is important to make sure that it is not obstructing your airbags before you get into an accident.
4. An aftermarket steering wheel that is not compatible with the airbag system.
Most aftermarket steering wheel companies make steering wheels that are compatible with the airbag system, but some are not. If you have an aftermarket steering wheel, it is important to make sure that it is compatible with your car’s airbag system before you get into an accident.
5. A seat that is too close to the steering wheel.
This might not seem like a serious issue but a seat close to the steering wheel can obstruct an airbag system. If you are unsure about your seat, it is best to consult with a professional.
6. A loose object in the car.
If you have a loose object in your car, it could become a projectile during an accident and injure someone. It is important to make sure that all of the objects in your car are secured before you get into an accident.
7. A child seat in the front seat
Again, a child seat in the front of a car can obstruct an airbag system. If you have a child seat in the front seat, it is important to make sure that it is not obstructing your airbags before you get into an accident.
8. Rhinestones on the steering wheel
Some car owners or drivers would want to customize the interior of the cars by adorning their steering wheels with jewels. Truthfully, that can be nice. However, I will advise against sticking bedazzled ornaments in the way of the airbag.
Some people are using tacky rhinestone décor bought on the internet to make their airbags dangerous. These fragile and cheap stick-on “bling” decorations are laid over the top of the airbag, which is essentially an explosive.
If the vehicle crashes and the airbag deploys, you do not need a crash-safety expert to tell you this will have dire consequences.
9. Dashboard covers
If you install the wrong dashboard cover for your vehicle, it will certainly obstruct the airbag. By law, dashboard covers are supposed to allow airbags to work properly.
However, there is no law stopping people from buying inappropriate dashboard covers that will get in the way of an airbag if it goes off. That being said, do not make the mistake of buying and fitting such a cover because it looks good in your car.
It is outright dangerous!
10. Body parts
I will recommend that while driving, do not have any portion of your arm, hand, or fingers over the airbag module at any point in time.
One of my friends was hit by his steering wheel cover in a crash because he had his arm “relaxed” on the airbag compartment while driving. He described the pain: “it felt like a bad burn and stung”. He said he was thankful his arm was intact because he had heard worse stories.
Similarly, persons in the front seat are warned to desist from placing any part of their body up against the dashboard. In the case of a car crash, this action may be deadly.
All of these objects can obstruct the airbag and prevent it from deploying properly which could lead to serious injuries or even death. It is important to make sure that nothing is blocking your airbags before you get into an accident.
While steering wheel covers may not affect airbags, there are still many things drivers should know about them. Airbags are a proven safety feature that can save lives, but they can also cause injuries if they deploy at the wrong time and cause harm.
It is best to be cautious and avoid any potential obstructions to the airbag compartment. Steering wheel covers should not affect airbags as long as they are not obstructing the airbag itself.
If there is no obstruction in front of the part that houses the airbag, there is no cause for alarm. However, anything in front of an airbag when it deploys will go flying at an incredible rate and cause serious injury to you. Anything that is in the way of the airbag might even dismember a part of your body.
In conclusion, we should all be aware that steering wheel covers will not stop airbags from working correctly. It is important to know how they function and what their purpose is so we can use them correctly.
Thank you for reading! I hope this article was informative and helpful.