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Passenger Air Bag Question-or- How Much Does Your Significant Other Weigh?


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#1 of 25 James Edward

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Posted January 04 2007 - 05:47 AM

Hi all,
I have a 2006 Hyundai Sonata, and the passenger side air bag light indicates that it will not deploy(dash says-'Passenger Air Bag Off') when my wife is seated.
The car is about six months old, and does this about 80% of the time.
I called Hyundai service to bring it in to be fixed, and was asked how much my wife weighed. I said about 120 lbs. The service person's response was that- "she is probably too light, and the same thing happens when my son is in the car. If she readjusts herself in the seat, that should work. I don't want to waste your time coming in for a problem that we can't resolve."

WTF? Can this be true? I can't believe a safety device like an airbag would be so haphazardly employed. Several points of logic come to my mind:

1. When my wife does not have her seatbelt fastened, the seatbelt indicator flashes, yet the 'PASSENGER AIRBAG OFF' light stays on. Shouldn't they be tied in together, as in: 'seatbelt on, therefore person sitting in seat, therefore enable airbag'?

2. I'm going to go out on a limb here- aren't Hyundais sold around the world?
I keep hearing that Americans are some of the heaviest people in the world.
Is there a different seat sensor used in Asia?

My instinct is to go up the chain of command if I'm told tomorrow that my wife doesn't weigh enough to trip the sensor- do you agree?
Napoleon, don't be jealous that I've been chatting online with babes all day. Besides, we both know that I'm training to be a cage fighter.

#2 of 25 Jeff Gatie

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Posted January 04 2007 - 05:55 AM

It is because of the minor accidents which killed a few kids and seriously harmed a few adults due to excessive airbag deployment. They have since lowered the power of the bags and put in shutoffs that keep the bag from deploying if the passenger is below a certain weight. I had a 1998 Jeep that had a switch to shut off the passenger airbag as an interim fix for this problem. I liked the choice, but the public cannot be held liable for their own stupidity, such as putting a child in front of an explosive device. You may think it is overkill (as do I), but I imagine the parents of a small child who is killed by an airbag in a fender bender feel differently, reagardless of who is at fault.

#3 of 25 mylan

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Posted January 04 2007 - 05:55 AM

Yes, your wife should weigh enough to accuate the sensor. Think about all the teenagers that also fit that description (weight wise) who otherwise would not be protected. I would definitely go and talk to them about that.
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#4 of 25 DaveHo

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Posted January 04 2007 - 05:57 AM

I'm no expert, but it seems to me it should trigger with 120lbs. My Pontiac G6 has a similar feature, and I "think" the owners manual lists the weight cutoff. Have you looked in yours?

-Dave

#5 of 25 James Edward

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Posted January 04 2007 - 06:01 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveHo
I'm no expert, but it seems to me it should trigger with 120lbs. My Pontiac G6 has a similar feature, and I "think" the owners manual lists the weight cutoff. Have you looked in yours?

-Dave

No, I haven't. I will. Excellent point.
Napoleon, don't be jealous that I've been chatting online with babes all day. Besides, we both know that I'm training to be a cage fighter.

#6 of 25 Jay H

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Posted January 04 2007 - 06:06 AM

This is only from memory, but I believe my Subaru outback manual says that if you routinely carry items, groceries, bricks, etc in the front seat, if the items weigh more than 75lbs than the airbag can be triggered in a frontal collision (unless overridden by the manual shutoff, of course). It kind of implies that the weight cutoff is 75lbs but I don't remember precisely and it isn't a stated fact. And I don't know if that is a federal requirement or just a Subaru thing...

You can see if your SO is close by perhaps putting a bunch of bricks on the seat and then having her sit down on it a bunch of times just to see if when the bricks are removed she might be very close to the limit. Just a test anyway, I would think that 120lbs should be safely over the weight minimum.

Jay
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#7 of 25 Jeff Gatie

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Posted January 04 2007 - 06:14 AM

Think of the jealous rage your wife's girlfriend's will be when she tells them she is thin enough to not trigger the airbag. Posted Image

#8 of 25 KevinGress

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Posted January 04 2007 - 08:07 AM

" Shouldn't they be tied in together" - Many people think an airbag is all the protection they need and opt to not wear a seatbeat. The problem with your idea is that would open the manufacturer to lawsuits claiming that the *victim* was under the expectation that the airbag would deploy whether or not the seatbelt was employed - arguable because of legislation that requires cars to have airbags.

Personally, I'd like to see any legislation requiring airbags to be repealed. Let that be an option the purchaser and insurance deals with. I won't argue that in many cases an airbag has saved a life, but it also has been shown to cause damage, as well. I'd like to have the freedom to have my 7 yr old daughter sit in the front seat, buckled properly, so I can see and talk to her.

Some would say I could do that, just with her in the back seat, to which I'd reply that it should be my choice, not chosen for me.

#9 of 25 Marko Berg

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Posted January 04 2007 - 08:11 AM

And never make the mistake of uttering, "Honey, have you been putting on weight lately? Because the instrument panel says the passenger-side airbag is now operational!"

#10 of 25 Steve Schaffer

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Posted January 04 2007 - 01:49 PM

120lbs should be more than enough to activate the passenger side airbag. Until recently I worked in the service dept. of a large Toyota dealership and we never had a problem with it de-activating with a load of 120 lbs on the seat. The cutoff weight, if I remember correctly, was about 60 lbs.

On Toyotas it's possible to re-calibrate the system using the factory scantool, I'm sure Hyundai is the same. The phones at dealership service depts are answered by service writers, not technicians, and service writers are not always knowledgeable on all aspects of the vehicle, nor are they necessarily aware of the calibration that can be done on the systems.
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#11 of 25 James Edward

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Posted January 04 2007 - 02:17 PM

Thanks for the replies. They certainly opened my eyes to all that goes on down there. I'll let you know how it goes at the dealer...
Napoleon, don't be jealous that I've been chatting online with babes all day. Besides, we both know that I'm training to be a cage fighter.

#12 of 25 James Edward

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Posted January 05 2007 - 04:08 AM

Well- the car is at the dealer. After looking at the problem, they need to take the seat out to fix whatever it is. I feel better now. Maybe that woman should not be answering the phone.
They gave me a loaner vehicle and I should have the car back later today.

Now if only my stereo dealer would call and say my speakers are in.
Napoleon, don't be jealous that I've been chatting online with babes all day. Besides, we both know that I'm training to be a cage fighter.

#13 of 25 Malcolm R

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Posted January 05 2007 - 04:31 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinGress
Some would say I could do that, just with her in the back seat, to which I'd reply that it should be my choice, not chosen for me.
What do you think this is? America? Posted Image

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Gatie
Think of the jealous rage your wife's girlfriend's will be when she tells them she is thin enough to not trigger the airbag. Posted Image
Sounds like a line about "Maris" from Frasier. Posted Image
The purpose of an education is to replace an empty mind with an open mind.

#14 of 25 MarkHastings

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Posted January 05 2007 - 05:15 AM

I always thought they should allow you to turn activation on or off for the passenger, but I guess that could also add the risk of accidental release...

#15 of 25 John Alvarez

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Posted January 05 2007 - 07:15 AM

I could swear the book on my Yukon says 35 lbs..

#16 of 25 JeremyErwin

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Posted January 05 2007 - 10:50 AM

From what I could igure out from articles such as this, or this airbag injuries occur because when the airbag deploys, it hits the child, either because the kid is fussy, and moving around, or because in pre-impact breaking, the passengers head was brought near the deploying airbag.

From what I can tell, weight is not as much a factor as maturity and height.

Apparently
The average 12 year old boy is ~5 ft tall and 87 lbs source

The average 12 year girl, 4 ft 9 inches and 95 lbs source

So, 120 lbs is really too high of a threshold, particularly for women.

Now, if either you or your wife are little people, airbags may not be such a good idea.

#17 of 25 James Edward

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Posted January 05 2007 - 01:24 PM

So... When I picked up the car, they said that the airbag system was functioning properly, though they did take the seat out to correct a rattling sound I was hearing.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to give it the "wife" test yet. Maybe taking out the seat helped in some way. We'll see tomorrow.

If not, I'll be escalating the problem to Hyundai US...
Napoleon, don't be jealous that I've been chatting online with babes all day. Besides, we both know that I'm training to be a cage fighter.

#18 of 25 Jay H

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Posted January 07 2007 - 11:44 PM

Are you safely over 120lbs? If so, why don't you try to sit in the passenger seat a few drives to see whether she is truly on the threshold, either by a problem or missetting of the weight data. When you say 80% of the time, it could be from a loose wire or perhaps she is truely on the limit at which then perhaps Hyundai would have to reprogram it. If you are safely over 120lbs, and you still have an 80% failure of the airbag weight sensor then I would think it's not the weight setting but a different problem with the passenger seat. You have yet to say if you have tried this or not, but it's best to go into your dealership with as much information that you can get and provide to the dealership, ESPECIALLY if you take this to Hyundai corporate.

Jay
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#19 of 25 Linda Thompson

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Posted January 08 2007 - 03:32 AM

Looks like this reviewer had the exact same problem which you're experiencing:

http://www.usnews.co....dai_sonata.htm


And here's a consumer who explains the problem in detail:

http://tinyurl.com/ym5wox

According to this, the sensor is set at 115 pounds, but the 121-pound consumer couldn't trip it.


I didn't have time to search any further, but it looks like you might not have a defect, but rather a very unfortunate fact of consumer life. Shame on Hyundai if that's the case.

#20 of 25 Jay H

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Posted January 10 2007 - 12:59 AM

I had to get my manual out of my Subaru to check on a headlight bulb and browsed the section on the passenger air bag. It states that if an adult is sitting in the passenger seat and the airbag indicator still says "OFF" it tells you to move the seat furthest back of the adjustment and raise the seatbag to the most upright position! Posted Image Never did I see it mention a weight limit though.

Jay
You are the crispy noodle in the vegetarian salad of life





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