Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Airbag with cracked windshield

A friend was told that if he were in a crash, the airbag would be useless due to his cracked windshield. The employee at a glass replacement shop said that the airbag would expand, break the window open and not give him the protection. This does not sound reasonable to me,since the airbag would deploy away from the steering wheel and into the person. What gives, other than the employee trying to make a sale?

Tom and Ray would say the glass guy’s story is BOOOOOO-----GUS!

Tom and Ray would be wrong. The windshield is a critical part of the airbag system. The employee at the glass replacement shop knows what he is talking about.

Why are you concerned?

Are you worried that the authorities may see the existing damage and find that the car is not road worthy? If you live were they have regular inspections, you have reasons to worry.

  1. The windscreen and the seat belt and the air bags are designed to work together. If any one part is not functional it reduces the overall safety. I believe that some states require inspections that include the belt, the windscreen and the air bags.

I don’t k now how much of a reduction in safety the cracked windscreen would cause, but personally, I like living. My life and safety are important to me. If your life is not important to you, then don’t worry. The windscreen keeps you in the car. being thrown from a car is fare more dangerous that staying in.

On many cars…the windshield is a critical part of the air-bag deployment. If in a crash…and the airbag goes off…it keeps it inflated toward the occupant…If there’s a crack which will weaken the windshield enough so that when the airbag goes off it pushes the windshield out…and thus the airbag could end up being inflated away from the occupant (which is NOT good).

Put an inflated rubber balloon on a kitchen table and drop a glass in the middle of it. It’ll absorb the falling glasse’s energy by diverting it sideways in the balloon. Now hold the balloon by the stem and drop the glass on it. Keep a dustpan and broom handy, because the glass will probably break when it hits the floor.

Eliminating the windshield from the supplemental restraint system is analogous to eliminating the table from the balloon experiment.

Yes, the windshield is a part of the SRS system. The airbag would still help without the windshield, just as the stem-held balloon would slow the glass a bit and divert it. But neither will have the effect it would without the barrier behind it to divert the energy in a controlled manner.

Not only is the windshield an important part of the SRS but it is also part of the structure of a vehicle. What that means is it is a key part of the structural integrity of the vehicle.

Stating that the airbag would be useless due to the cracked windshield is sort of an embellishment. If the windshield is weakened and is broken by the airbag, the airbag’s effectiveness would be reduced, but it would not be useless. If safety is important, replace the cracked windshield. They’re not terribly expensive for common vehicles. I will be having mine replaced soon on an '02 Grand Cherokee, and it will be under $300, parts and labor. Getting hurt or killed sucks bad enough to make the $300 worth it in my mind to lessen the chance of either happening in the event of an accident.