What You Need to Know About Airbags and Steering Columns

Your airbags and steering columns are some of the most important parts of your vehicle. When these mess up, you risk putting yourself in harm’s way every time you hit the road.

Make sure you understand how the steering column works and have all you need to know about frontal impact so that you can stay safe when you drive.

How the Steering Column Works

The steering column is the part of your car that connects your wheel to the front axle. As you turn the wheel, it turns the axle and moves the car forward or back.

At the top of the steering column, there lies your steering wheel. As you already know, it’s your main way of communicating with your car. When you turn the wheel, it activates the steering mechanism. Following that, the mechanism moves the shaft that turns the axle.

Your steering column should already have passive elements that are meant to serve as built-in safety precautions. For instance, collapsible columns are now present in most modern vehicles so that they can minimize frontal impact in the event of a crash.

Airbags and Steering Columns

The steering column is also connected to your airbags. When your vehicle crashes, the service airbag is going to inflate. When it does so, it gets in the way of the steering column. This makes it harder for you to control the car.

For that to happen, you need to have controls in the steering wheel. This is called the airbag system. If this isn’t calibrated properly, your airbag may even end up causing more damage instead of helping defuse your impact. 

What makes a collapsible column combined with a properly set airbag important is how your body reacts to an external force. If your car sustains a strong enough impact, it will likely come to a halt. Your body, on the other hand, will not. You will be thrown off-position, so you need a way to smoothly come to a stop. If you don’t have an airbag and seat belt, you can get thrown out of the car. If your steering column is not calibrated correctly, you may get hit with a sudden force that will cause bone breakage or internal organ damage, or trauma. 

What to Do When the Steering Column Breaks

When the steering column breaks, you will lose the ability to control the steering wheel. The car will still drive, but you won’t be able to turn the wheel. In addition, the airbag on the steering wheel won’t deploy when you do have an accident.

If the issue is with your airbag system, then you will need an airbag module reset. Otherwise, you may need a steering column replacement or repair. If you suspect that the steering column is broken, you need to stop the car. If you still have control of the car, switch on the hazard lights and turn on the emergency blinkers to alert other motorists. Finally, get your vehicle towed to a mechanic immediately.


There are certain parts of your car that are important for you to understand. The steering column is one of the most vital components. Although it may seem simple on the surface, this can be a matter of life and death. Make sure to get your vehicle checked regularly to make sure everything is in order.

If you need to get an airbag module reset, contact Safety Restore. We are the world’s leader in post-accident restorations and preventative maintenance repairs.

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