VW Tiguan Manuals

Volkswagen Tiguan Owners Manual: Airbags and how they work

Read and follow the introductory information and safety information firstIntroduction to the subject 

Front airbags and how they work

Airbags are only supplemental restraints. They are not a substitute for safety belts that must be worn even though the front seating positions are equipped with front airbags. The front airbags can provide additional protection for the chest and head of the driver and the front seat passenger when seats, safety belts, head restraints and, for the driver, the steering wheel, are properly used and have been properly adjusted.

When the airbag system deploys in a collision, a gas generator fills the airbags that break open the padded covers on the steering wheel and the instrument panel. The front airbags inflate between the steering wheel and the driver and between the instrument panel and the front passenger.

Front airbags in combination with properly worn safety belts slow down and limit the occupant's forward movement. Together they help to prevent the driver and front seat passenger from hitting parts of the vehicle interior, thereby reducing the forces acting on the occupants during a crash. In this way, they help to reduce the risk of injury to the head and upper body during a crash. Airbags do not provide protection for the arms and lower body parts. It is important to remember that the supplemental airbag system is designed to reduce the likelihood of serious injuries. However, it is possible that a deployed airbag may cause other injuries such as swelling, bruising, friction burns, and abrasions.

Airbags inflate in the blink of an eye, so fast that many people don't even realize that the airbags have deployed. The airbags will deflate immediately after deployment so that the front occupants can see through the windshield again without interruption.

Airbags inflate with a great deal of force. Airbags can cause serious injuries when they inflate and hit those who are sitting too close, are out of position, or are not properly restrained. By keeping room between your body and the steering wheel and the front of the passenger compartment the airbag can inflate fully and completely and provide supplemental protection during certain frontal collisions ⇒ Safety belts .

Make sure that nothing is in the way of the airbags when they deploy. For example, things on your lap or on the seat could be pushed into your body or fly dangerously through the passenger compartment when the airbag inflates and cause serious personal injury.

The areas outlined in red (dotted lines) ⇒ Fig. 69  and ⇒ Fig. 70  indicate the airbag deployment zone. Never place or attach accessories or other objects (such as cup holders, telephone brackets, notepads, large, heavy or bulky objects) on the doors, on the windshield, over or near the area marked in red (dotted lines).

Physical impairments and airbags

If you have a physical impairment or condition that prevents you from sitting properly on the driver seat with the safety belt properly fastened and reaching the pedals, special modifications to your vehicle may be necessary. The safety belt and airbag can only provide optimum protection if you are seated correctly and can reach the pedals.

Contact your authorized Volkswagen dealer or authorized Volkswagen Service Facility or call the Volkswagen Customer CARE Center at 1-800-822-8987 for information about possible modifications to your vehicle.

When airbags deploy

Deployment of the front airbags and the activation of the safety belt pretensioners depend on the deceleration measured by the crash sensors and registered by the electronic control unit. Crash severity depends on speed and deceleration as well as the mass and stiffness of the vehicle or object involved in the crash.

The front airbags will not inflate in side or rear collisions, in rollovers or if the ignition is switched off. The front airbags will not inflate in all frontal collisions. The triggering of the airbag system depends on the vehicle deceleration rate caused by the collision and registered by the electronic control unit. If this rate is below the reference value programmed into the control unit, the airbags will not be triggered, even though the vehicle may be badly damaged as a result of the collision. Vehicle damage, repair costs or even the lack of vehicle damage is not necessarily an indication of whether an airbag should inflate or not. It is not possible to define a range of vehicle speeds that will cover every possible kind and angle of impact that will always trigger the airbags, since the circumstances will vary considerably between one collision and another. Important factors include, for example, the nature (hard or soft) of the object that the vehicle hits, the angle of impact, vehicle speed, etc.

When an airbag deploys, fine dust is released. This is normal and is not caused by a fire in the vehicle. This dust is made up mostly of a powder used to lubricate the airbags as they deploy. This dust could irritate skin and eyes and cause breathing problems for people with asthma or other respiratory conditions.

Always remember: Front airbags only supplement the 3 point safety belts in some frontal collisions only when the vehicle deceleration is high enough to deploy the airbags. Airbags only deploy once, and only in certain kinds of collisions. The safety belts are always there to offer protection in situations in which airbags should not deploy or when they have already deployed, for example, when your vehicle strikes or is struck by another vehicle after an initial collision.

This is just one of the reasons why an airbag is a supplementary restraint and is not a substitute for a safety belt. The airbag system works most effectively when used with the safety belts. Therefore, always buckle up properly and wear your safety belts.

The airbags are part of the overall passive vehicle safety system. The airbag system works most efficiently when used with properly worn safety belts and a proper seating position  ⇒ ⇒ Adjusting the seating position .

Safety equipment

Your safety and the safety of your passengers shouldn't be left to chance. Advances in technology have made a number of features available to help reduce the risk of injury in a collision. The following are just a few of the safety features for your Volkswagen:

  • Sophisticated safety belts for all seating positions.
  • Safety belt pretensioners for driver and front passenger.
  • Safety belt load limiters for the driver, passenger and outboard rear seats.
  • Safety belt height adjusters for the front seats.
  • Safety belt warning light.
  • Advanced front airbag system for driver and front passenger.
  • Sensors for the weight-sensing mat front seat passenger detection system.
  • Side airbags for driver and front passenger.
  • Side Curtain Protection® airbags.
  • Airbag indicator light .
  • PASSENGER AIR BAG light.
  • Electronic control unit and associated sensors.
  • Head restraints with height adjustment optimized for rear-end collisions.
  • Adjustable steering column.
  • LATCH/UCRA lower universal and top tether anchorages for child safety seats at the rear outboard seating positions.

These individual safety features can work together as a system to help protect you and your passengers in a wide range of collisions. These features can't work as a system if they are not always correctly adjusted and properly used!

How the Advanced Airbag System components work together...

On the passenger side, regardless of safety belt use, the front passenger front airbag will be turned off if the weight on the front passenger seat is less than the amount programmed in the electronic control unit. The front airbag on the passenger side will also be turned off if the combined weight of an infant of about one year of age in one of the child seats that was used to certify the Advanced Airbag System under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208 has been registered on the seat. The PASSENGER AIR BAG light comes on and stays on to tell you when the front Advanced Airbag System on the passenger side has been turned off ⇒ PASSENGER AIR BAG light .

Warning

  • Never rely on airbags alone for protection.
  • Even when they deploy, airbags provide only supplemental protection.
  • Airbags work most effectively when used with properly worn safety belts ⇒ Safety belts .
  • The driver must always make sure that every person in the vehicle is properly seated on a seat of his or her own, properly fastens the safety belts belonging to that seat before the vehicle starts to move, and keeps the belts properly fastened while riding in the vehicle. This applies even when just driving around town. Therefore, always wear your safety belts and make sure that everybody in your vehicle is properly restrained.

Warning

Sitting too close to the steering wheel or instrument panel will decrease the effectiveness of the airbags and will increase the risk of personal injury in a collision.
  • Never sit less than 10 inches (25 cm) from the steering wheel or instrument panel.
  • If you cannot sit upright more than 10 inches (25 cm) from the steering wheel, investigate whether adaptive equipment may be available to help you reach the pedals and increase your seating distance from the steering wheel.
  • If you are unrestrained, leaning forward, sitting sideways, or out of position in any way, your risk of injury is much higher.
  • You can also be seriously injured and could even be killed if you are sitting too close to the airbag when it inflates.
  • To reduce the risk of injury when an airbag inflates, always wear safety belts properly.
  • An infant in a rearward-facing child seat installed on the front passenger seat will be seriously injured and can be killed if the front airbag inflates – even with an Advanced Airbag System.
  • Always make certain that children age 12 or younger always ride in the rear seat. If children are not properly restrained, they may be severely injured or killed when the airbag inflates.
  • Never let children ride unrestrained or improperly restrained in the vehicle.
  • Adjust the front seats properly.
  • Never ride with the backrest reclined.
  • Always sit as far as possible from the steering wheel or the instrument panel.
  • Always sit upright with your back against the backrest of your seat.
  • Never put your feet on the instrument panel or on the seat.
  • Always keep both feet on the floor in front of the seat to help prevent serious injuries to the head, legs and hips if the airbag inflates.

Warning

Objects between you and the airbag will increase the risk of injury in a crash by interfering with the way the airbag unfolds and/or by being pushed into you as the airbag inflates.
  • Never hold things in your hands or on your lap when the vehicle is in use.
  • Never place accessories or other objects (such a cup holders, telephone brackets, or things that are large, heavy, or bulky) on the doors or attach them to the doors; never place them over or near the area marked AIRBAG on the steering wheel, instrument panel, or seat backrests or between those areas and someone in the vehicle. These objects could cause injury in a crash, especially if an airbag inflates.
  • Never recline the front passenger seat to transport objects. Items can also move into the deployment area of the side airbags or the front airbag during braking or in a sudden maneuver. Objects near the airbags can fly dangerously through the passenger compartment and cause injury, particularly when the seat is reclined and the airbags inflate.
  • Never place or transport objects on the front passenger seat. Always make sure that there is nothing on the front passenger seat that will cause the weight-sensing mat in the seat to signal to airbag system that the seat is occupied by a person when it in fact is not, or to signal that the person on the seat is heavier than he or she actually is. The weight of such objects can cause the passenger front airbag to be turned on when it should be off, or can cause the airbag to work in a way that is different from the way it would have worked without objects on the seat.
  • Always make sure that nothing is on the front passenger seat when the backrest is folded forward. Even light objects could be pushed into the seat cushion and cause the weight-sensing mat in the seat to register enough weight to turn the airbag on.
  • Always make sure that the status signaled by the PASSENGER AIR BAG light is correct for the way that the front passenger seat is being used.

Warning

The fine dust created when airbags deploy can cause breathing problems for people with asthma or other breathing conditions.
  • To reduce the risk of breathing problems, those with asthma or other respiratory conditions should get fresh air right away by getting out of the vehicle or opening windows or doors.
  • If you are in a collision in which airbags deploy, wash your hands and face with mild soap and water before eating.
  • Be careful not to get the dust into your eyes, or into any cuts, scratches or open wounds.
  • If the residue should get into your eyes, flush them with water.

Warning

To reduce the risk of serious injury, make sure that the PASSENGER AIR BAG light is on and stays on whenever a child restraint is installed on the front passenger seat and the ignition is switched on.
  • If the PASSENGER AIR BAG light does not stay on, take the child restraint off the front passenger seat and install it properly at one of the rear seating positions.
  • Always make sure that the child restraint is correctly registered by the weight-sensing mat.
  • Have the airbag system inspected immediately by your authorized Volkswagen dealer or authorized Volkswagen Service Facility if the PASSENGER AIR BAG light does not come on and stay on whenever a child restraint is installed on the front passenger seat and the ignition is switched on.

Warning

Airbags that have deployed in a crash must be replaced.
  • Use only original equipment airbags approved by Volkswagen and installed by a trained technician who has the necessary tools and diagnostic equipment to properly replace any airbag on your vehicle and assure system effectiveness in a crash.
  • Never permit salvaged or recycled airbags to be installed in your vehicle.
    PASSENGER AIR BAG   light
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