We have a new 2010 Subaru Outback and all is well except an issue with the passagner airbag. It cycles ON -OFF - ON - OFF - - - while driving. The Subaru dealer has checked it twice & says it is properly operating. We contacted Subaru, they contacted the dealer and responded, per dealer it is OK. The cycling makes us uncomfortable with the saftey of the system. She weighs right at 100 Lbs, if we hit a bump in the road the airbag status changes, if she shifts her position in the seat the status changes, it may change without any outside influence, etc. If it would maintain it’s status it would seem more reliable. Any comments, suggestions, recommendations welcomed. Thanks
“She weighs right at 100 Lbs”
I am assuming that “she” is a female passenger (wife/girlfriend) who normally occupies that seat. Since the passenger side airbag is designed to be deactivated if the passenger seat is empty, clearly the problem lies with the sensor in that seat. Apparently, it considers 100 lbs to be the indication that a person is sitting there. When “she” shifts position, the momentary reduction in weight applied to the seat results in a temporary disablement of that airbag.
It is possible that 100 lbs is the weight that the sensor is supposed to react to, and if that is the case, then nothing is likely to help, outside of gaining some weight. I suggest that you “kick it up a notch” by contacting Subaru Customer Service in writing and mentioning that you intend to refer the situation to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as a potential safety defect. With any luck, a letter will yield more help than just a phone call.
“She” is right on the borderline of not needing an airbag, the bag is likely to cause more injuries than it prevents…Perhaps the dealer can deactivate the passenger bag, the light will come on and stay on and that’s that…If you want the airbag regardless of its design limitations, have someone spoof the seat weight sensor so it signals there is the design load in the seat…This could be lethal to a child riding in that seat…
SRS…Supplemental Restraint System. Key word: Supplemental. The seat belts STILL do most of the work protecting passengers during wrecks…
Caddyman is correct, and I should have included some of the helpful information that he provided!
I also agree with Caddyman. “She” probably does not weigh enough for the system to consider it a safe bet to leave the airbag on. Try riding with a passenger who weighs 150 pounds or more and I bet the airbag off light will stay off. Likewise, try riding around with a bag of groceries or a gallon of milk in the passenger seat and the light will stay on. I think the system is working as it should.