Air bag supplemental restraint system (SRS)
Important SRS precautions
The SRS is designed to work with the safety belt to help protect the driver and right front passenger from certain upper body injuries. Air bags DO NOT inflate slowly; there is a risk of injury from a deploying air bag.
All occupants of the vehicle, including the driver, should always properly wear their safety belts, even when an air bag (SRS) is provided.
Always transport children 12 years old and under in the back seat and always properly use appropriate child restraints.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends a minimum distance of at least 25 cm (10 inches) between an occupant's chest and the driver air bag module.
Never place your arm over the air bag module as a deploying air bag can result in serious arm fractures or other injuries.
To properly position yourself away from the air bag:
- Move your seat to the rear as far as you can while still reaching the pedals comfortably.
- Recline the seat slightly one or two degrees from the upright position.
Do not put anything on or over the air bag module. Placing objects on or over the air bag inflation area may cause those objects to be propelled by the air bag into your face and torso causing serious injury.
Do not attempt to service, repair, or modify the air bag supplemental restraint systems or its fuses. See your Ford or Lincoln Mercury dealer.
Modifying or adding equipment to the front end of the vehicle (including frame, bumper, front end body structure and tow hooks) may affect the performance of the air bag system, increasing the risk of injury. Do not modify the front end of the vehicle.
Children and air bags
Children must always be properly restrained. Accident statistics suggest that children are safer when properly restrained in the rear seating positions than in the front seating position. Failure to follow these instructions may increase the risk of injury in a collision.
Air bags can kill or injure a child in a child seat.
NEVER place a rear-facing child seat in front of an active air bag. If you must use a forward-facing child seat in the front seat, move the seat all the way back.
How does the air bag supplemental restraint system work?
The air bag SRS is designed to activate when the vehicle sustains a longitudinal deceleration sufficient to cause the air bag sensors to close an electrical circuit that initiates air bag inflation. The fact that the air bags did not inflate in a collision does not mean that something is wrong with the system. Rather, it means the forces were not sufficient enough to cause activation. Air bags are designed to inflate in frontal and near-frontal collisions, not rollover, side-impact, or rear-impacts unless the collision causes sufficient longitudinal deceleration.
The air bags inflate and deflate rapidly upon activation. After air bag deployment, it is normal to notice a smoke-like, powdery residue or smell the burnt propellant. This may consist of cornstarch, talcum powder or sodium compounds which may irritate the skin and eyes, but none of the residue is toxic.
While the SRS is designed to help reduce serious injuries, contact with a deploying air bag may also cause abrasions, swelling or temporary hearing loss. Because air bags must inflate rapidly and with considerable force, there is the risk of death or serious injuries such as fractures, facial and eye injuries or internal injuries, particularly to occupants who are not properly restrained or are otherwise out of position at the time of air bag deployment. It is extremely important that occupants be properly restrained as far away from the air bag module as possible while maintaining vehicle control.
The SRS consists of:
- driver and passenger air bag modules (which include the inflators and air bags)
- one or more impact and safing sensors
- a readiness light and tone
- a diagnostic module
- and the electrical wiring which connects the components
The diagnostic module monitors its own internal circuits and the supplemental air bag electrical system warning (including the impact sensors), the system wiring, the air bag system readiness light, the air bag back up power and the air bag ignitors.
Several air bag system components get hot after inflation. Do not touch them after inflation.
If the air bag has deployed, the air bag will not function again and must be replaced immediately. If the air bag is not replaced, the unrepaired area will increase the risk of injury in a collision.
Determining if the system is operational
The SRS uses a readiness light in the instrument cluster or a tone to indicate the condition of the system. Refer to Air bag readiness section in the Instrument cluster chapter. Routine maintenance of the air bag is not required.
A difficulty with the system is indicated by one or more of the following:
- The readiness light will either flash or stay lit.
- The readiness light will not illuminate immediately after ignition is turned on.
- A series of five beeps will be heard. The tone pattern will repeat periodically until the problem and/or light are repaired.
If any of these things happen, even intermittently, have the SRS serviced at your dealership or by a qualified technician immediately. Unless serviced, the system may not function properly in the event of a collision.
Disposal of air bags and air bag equipped vehicles
See your local dealership or qualified technician. Air bags MUST BE disposed of by qualified personnel.
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