Tweezers inside the Steering Wheel--Deadly or No?

jaguar
x-type

#1

Okay… So I was sitting in my parked car yesterday talking to my grandmother and playing with a pair of tweezers, when they slipped out of my hand and into the front of the steering wheel… that has an airbag. My question: is this dangerous (if not deadly)–I mean, would the tweezers become a projectile should the airbag deploy–and if so, how can I extract them?

Thanks,
Kat


#2

The tweezers could potentially be a deadly projectile since airbag pressures are very high. Tow this vehicle to the nearest independent mechanic and have those tweezers removed. Call first and they may have a mechanic that can come to you.


#3

Into the front of the steering wheel? I’m sorry, but I don’t understand. The front of the steering wheel is generally a fully-covered unit. Did it fall into a gap between the steering wheel and the steering column cover?


#4

I don’t know of any spot on a steering wheel in which a pair of tweezers could fall, so I don’t understand your question. Please post a picture of the steering wheel and tweezers.


#5

I just looked at dozens of pictures of Jaguar X-Type steering wheels and they look pretty well covered. There are a couple of spots however that have some wide gaps and that might be where the tweezers went. I, myself, would just remove the front cover and extract the tweezers if that’s where they went. Since it has an airbag, I will be conservative here and stay with my original comment about an independent mechanic. The removal looks like a piece of cake though.


#6

Here is a picture of my steering wheel. Sure…it looks covered.


#7

However, in reality, the leather top of the steering wheel has a rather large gap all the way around. It is very far from flush.
When I lost the tweezers in it, my steering wheel was upside down, like pictured, and I was using them to try and dislodge some schmutz (which you can see in the third picture) when it slipped out of my hand and slipped down that hole. I tried to turn the wheel to see if it would just slip right back down… but no.
I tried to see if I could get them to one of the other holes where I might be able to extract them better… no. They had rattled around for a little bit afterwards (This happened Friday during my lunch break, so I drove it the few miles from work to home–rather timidly as you probably can understand) but when I went out to take these pictures this morning, I turned the wheel to get it back the way it was when the tweezers disappeared…and no rattle at all. No, the tweezers weren’t on the floor. They’re probably wedged in there against something.

Consensus is still the same–find someone PDQ?
What can I expect in terms of procedure and/or cost, do you think?


#8

Well, the good news is that the airbag is housed in the center section of the steering wheel. If you look at the first photo, you can make the outline of the airbag flap, kinda square-ish with a horizontal line right through the emblem. That line will split open to release the airbag when deployed. This means the tweezers are behind the airbag and will not become a flying projectile when they are deployed.

Also, to remove the tweezers, the airbag module can be removed from the steering wheel with a couple of screws or bolts. With the airbag module out, the tweezers should be right there. I do caution you if you try yourself or have a mechanically-inclined friend to do this. The airbag is especially dangerous up close, and you or your friend should use caution when removing and replacing it, because they can accidentally go off, although that is rare.


#9

If you’re not a regular car person I would advise that you don’t mess with it on your own. A good, locally owned auto shop should be able to take care of this for not too much $$. Figure and hour’s labor - maybe - I don’t know the specifics of the car. But normally just removing the air bag module is not that big a deal as @BustedKnuckles mentioned.

If anyone does want to try anything, I’ll just say that I get very paranoid working around the dash. If it will be in the vicinity of anything airbag, I generally pull the fuse for the airbag system, disconnect the vehicle battery (but that might be a bad idea on this car!), and sometimes also disconnect the wiring for whatever module I’m near. Its usually not that hard to pull the airbag module off of the steering wheel. But it does hold the potential for disaster.


#10

I agree to be careful to stay out of the way of the airbag, but I can’t believe there aren’t a couple screws in the back that hold that whole cover on. I have a long forcepts that I’d try on it, or a small magnet on a stick, or dental picks or hooks. Strong light to see where it is exactly and might be able to just pull it out. The more you turn the wheel, the more it might move around and I’d be afraid it’ll set the horn off.


#11

I strongly recommend following cig’s advice. The airbag NEEDS to be disabled before trying to remove it. Accidental discharge could be extremely dangerous, especially with a pair of tweezers as potential shrapnel. Spend a few bucks and have the tweezers removed by a pro. It won’t cost much at all, likely just an hour’s shop time. Think of it as a cheap investment in your own safety.

Oh and get I fixed IMMEDIATELY. If that airbag needs to discharge, it’s going to force those tweezers right into somebody’s lung.

Just out of curiosity, what year is your Jag? That big a gap is not indicative of precision. I hope the rest of the vehicle has been better to you that that gap would suggest.


#12

Thanks guys. You have both validated my paranoia to my husband and sister-in-law who called tried to reassure me that it can be fixed relatively easily. I’d love to repay you in-kind, but I’m a college English/Composition teacher, and from your responses, you guys don’t need grammar/composition help.
Although I am no stranger to low-level repairs, I am not confident in either my or my husband’s mechanical expertise when it comes to dealing with an airbag–so, though I believe it’s probably a simple extraction, I’ll probably be leaving this to the experts. I’ll be sure to post the results if you want to try your own “Stump the Chumps.”

TSM-It’s a 2002. From what I’ve researched after getting the car, it’s either the first or second year Ford owned the company. However, it seemed like such a sweet deal, we just couldn’t pass it up. We got it about four years ago from the lady who owns the company my husband worked for. It was her aunt’s car–an elderly lady and former high school English teacher who essentially only drove it to church on Sunday, She had died and they were trying to unload it… and we were trying to get rid of my red 2001 Cavalier that had, for some reason, become a magnet for police, even when I wasn’t doing anything wrong.
Since buying it: the hole for the screw that holds the left headlight in place has become stripped out so that now the light shines in the trees, the front passenger door sticks when it’s humid (did I mention we live in South Louisiana?) the trunk door sticks, hydraulics system which helps to raise and hold the trunk in place has permanently failed (It’s tried to close on my head a few times now) and we had some weird issue with a spark plug melting then exploding out–If you guys are curious, I can explain that later in one of the other boards. We’ve still got the plug somewhere, so I can show you what it looks like.