This manual includes the latest information at the time it was printed for 2001 Oldsmobile Aurora. We reserve the right to make changes in the product after that time without further notice. For vehicles first sold in Canada, substitute the name “General Motors of Canada Limited” for Oldsmobile Division whenever it appears in this manual. Please keep this manual in your vehicle, so it will be there if you ever need it when you’re on the road. If you sell the vehicle, please leave this manual in it so the new owner can use it.
How does an air bag restrain?
In moderate to severe frontal or near-frontal collisions, even belted occupants can contact the steering wheel or the instrument panel. Air bags supplement the protection provided by safety belts. Air bags distribute the force of the impact more evenly over the occupant’s upper body, stopping the occupant more gradually. But air bags would not help you in many types of collisions, including rollovers, rear impacts and side impacts, primarily because an occupant’s motion is not toward those air bags. Air bags should never be regarded as anything more than a supplement to safety belts, and then only in moderate to severe frontal or near-frontal collisions.
When should an air bag inflate?
An air bag is designed to inflate in a moderate to severe frontal or near-frontal crash. The air bag will inflate only if the impact speed is above the system’s designed “threshold level.” If your vehicle goes straight into a wall that doesn’t move or deform, the threshold level is about 8 to 11 mph (13 to 18 km/h). The threshold level can vary, however, with specific vehicle design, so that it can be somewhat above or below this range. If your vehicle strikes something that will move or deform, such as a parked car, the threshold level will be higher. The air bag is not designed to inflate in rollovers, side impacts or rear impacts, because inflation would not help the occupant.
In any particular crash, no one can say whether an air bag should have inflated simply because of the damage to a vehicle or because of what the repair costs were. Inflation is determined by the angle of the impact and how quickly the vehicle slows down in frontal or near-frontal impacts.
What makes an air bag inflate?
In an impact of sufficient severity, the air bag sensing system detects that the vehicle is in a crash. The sensing system triggers a release of gas from the inflator, which inflates the air bag. The inflator, air bag and related hardware are all part of the air bag modules inside the steering wheel and in the instrument panel in front of the right front passenger.
What will you see after an air bag inflates?
After an air bag inflates, it quickly deflates, so quickly that some people may not even realize the air bag inflated. Some components of the air bag module the steering wheel hub for the driver’s air bag, or the instrument panel for the right front passenger’s bag will be hot for a short time. The parts of the bag that come into contact with you may be warm, but not too hot to touch. There will be some smoke and dust coming from vents in the deflated air bags. Air bag inflation doesn’t prevent the driver from seeing or from being able to steer the vehicle, nor does it stop people from leaving the vehicle.
In many crashes severe enough to inflate an air bag, windshields are broken by vehicle deformation. Additional windshield breakage may also occur from the right front passenger air bag.
- Air bags are designed to inflate only once. After they inflate, you’ll need some new parts for your air bag system. If you don’t get them, the air bag system won’t be there to help protect you in another crash. A new system will include air bag modules and possibly other parts. The service manual for your vehicle covers the need to replace other parts.
- Your vehicle is equipped with a crash sensing and diagnostic module, which records information about the air bag system. The module records information about the readiness of the system, when the sensors are activated and driver’s safety belt usage at deployment.
- Let only qualified technicians work on your air bag system. Improper service can mean that your air bag system won’t work properly. See your dealer for service
Before Leaving on a Long Trip
Make sure you’re ready. Try to be well rested. If you must start when you’re not fresh such as after a day’s work don’t plan to make too many miles that first part of the journey. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes you can easily drive in.
Is your vehicle ready for a long trip? If you keep it serviced and maintained, it’s ready to go. If it needs service, have it done before starting out. Of course, you’ll find experienced and able service experts in Oldsmobile dealerships all across North America. They’ll be ready and willing to help if you need it.