Teslas & Airbags: 8 Common Questions (Answered)

Tesla is one of the biggest EV brands in the automotive industry, having the most ingenious vehicle designs.

But is Tesla well equipped with safety measures?

Here’s all you need to know.

Do all Tesla models have airbags?

All Tesla models have safety features such as airbags located in different places inside the vehicle.

However, multiple Tesla Model X vehicles released in 2021-2022 had an issue. Multiple drivers confirmed that the airbags were nonfunctional after a driver of a Model X got into an accident and the airbags didn’t deploy.

According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), the problem was in the positioning of airbags which interfered with their deployment. Multiple tests were conducted by the automaker following the complaints to ensure the vehicles still complied with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 255.

After the tests were conducted to determine a solution to the incorrect deployment of airbags, it was found that a recall of more than 7 thousand vehicles was the only way to fix the issue.

All Model X vehicles from 2021 and 2022 had airbag replacements after the recall.

We have more about the airbag issue on other problems with Tesla Model X.

However, the Tesla Model X was the first SUV to have a perfect crash-test rating, so the reason behind the malfunction of the side front-row curtain airbags in the Tesla Model X was uncertain.

How many airbags does each Tesla model have?

Model X

The Tesla Model X has a total of 12 airbags. They are located in the following areas inside the vehicle:

  • Head and knee areas in the front
  • Two side curtain airbags
  • Two door-mounted airbags
  • Four seat-mounted side airbags

Model S

The Model S has three kinds of airbags, which in total make 6 airbags:

  • Front airbags to reduce injuries in people seated at the front of the vehicle.
  • Side airbags to protect the passengers in case of a side impact.
  • Curtain airbags.

Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 has 7 airbags in total, which are divided into:

  • Front airbags
  • Knee airbags
  • Curtain airbags
  • Seat-mounted airbags

Check the most common issues with Tesla Model 3 cars.

Model Y

The Model Y also has 7 airbags:

  • Seat-mounted side airbags to prevent severe injuries in case of a collision.
  • Curtain airbags to protect the head area of the passengers.
  • Front airbags
  • Knee airbags to prevent severe injuries to the belt or torso.

So, airbags come standard on a Tesla while there are other cool equipment and gadgets for your Tesla.

Do Teslas use normal airbags or have they developed something special?

Tesla vehicles (Model X, Model S, Model 3, Model Y) are at the top of NHTSA’s list for least probable to get involved in a serious accident because Tesla holds its reputation as one of the safest automotive brands.

Tesla uses a patent application to determine how much safer can the vehicles become.

That is why Tesla aims to add sensors to the vehicle’s seats which would enable it to classify how many people are present in it and deploy the airbags accordingly.

If the patent application is successful and the sensors pass all crash-test drives, then Tesla vehicles would be the safest vehicles on the roads, providing maximum safety to the passengers inside.

Elon Musk stated that each month, the Tesla vehicles are provided with maximum upgrades to ensure that the cars are as safe as possible to the latest standards and ideas.

What Tesla model is the safest?

The Tesla Model Y is known as the safest vehicle in Europe and all because of its safety features. 

The NHTSA gives it five stars in crash-test due to its capability of absorbing the impact.

The safety features in the vehicle such as the airbags prevent the vehicle cell from collapsing on the passengers inside. The Model 3 has similar safety features but the size difference between both models gives the Tesla Model Y an edge.

However, Tesla Models X and S both had a recall issued due to a malfunction in the driver’s airbag. According to reports, it would tear when deployed. The NHTSA issued a statement that the problem was found in 1 of every 7600 vehicles. All affected vehicles had airbags replaced for free by the automaker under the recall.

All vehicles manufactured at that time were notified of the recall.

Although the defect was discovered on a quality test drive, Tesla had all 2021 vehicles of Model S and X recalled to prevent any real-world injuries.

Has Tesla had any issues with their airbag system?

Tesla had multiple recalls due to the airbag situation. For instance, in 2021, over 7,289 vehicles were recalled because the front-row airbags did not deploy when the vehicle was involved in an accident.

All owners of Model X from model years 2021 and 2022 were notified by mail of the replacement of airbag units.

In addition, the Tesla Model Y 2022 is also being recalled due to a minor defect in the crash detection system of the model.

The front side airbags are defective and do not deploy under impact.

However, the recall is meant for only a few vehicles and there are very few chances of this issue affecting more vehicles. Tesla plans to send recall notices to all owners by September 19, 2022.

Does Teslas have other safety features besides airbags?

Drivers are almost 50% less likely to be involved in an accident or collision while driving a Tesla than any other vehicle. 

Tesla has a diligent team of engineers that work diligently to add self-driving abilities to their vehicles.

For instance, the Tesla autopilot feature powers several other features, including automatic braking and lane assist. Most vehicles that include some version of autopilot hardware have these features.

Active safety features like these have grown high in demand in recent years and many new vehicles have started adding them.

There are quite a few major features, such as the Automatic Emergency Braking: Automatic Braking is quite a simple but very effective feature.

It engages the vehicle’s brakes if it believes there’s about to be a collision or there is an obstacle in the way.

Although it might not always avoid a collision entirely, it can seriously reduce the severity of an accident. Its goal is to react faster than average human reflexes.

Can you turn the passenger airbags on/off in a Tesla?

Many vehicles don’t come with a feature that can turn airbags off.

If the car isn’t equipped with a switch to activate and deactivate the passenger airbag, it will always remain on, which could be dangerous in several circumstances.

If an airbag is deployed where a baby seat is situated, it could cause serious damage or even death.

Similarly, if a certain passenger has an abnormal medical condition, the health professionals will suggest deactivating the passenger-side airbag OFF for their safety.

Tesla vehicles come with a deactivation feature built-in. It can be easily changed from the options on the touch screen.

How do you check if the airbags are turned on or off?

The airbags on a Tesla activate when its sensors detect a collision or impact that exceeds their deployment threshold.

The thresholds are created to predict if the severity of the crash requires airbag deployment.

The airbags activate and inflate with quite a considerable force, and together with the seatbelt, restrict the movement of the passengers.

Tesla models have several types of airbags, including:

  • the front airbags,
  • seat-mounted side airbags which protect the pelvis and half of the torso,
  • and finally, the curtain airbags which are deployed to protect the heads of the passenger and driver.

The status of the airbags is displayed on the top corner of the touch screen.

There are some instances where you’d need to turn the feature off.

For instance, if you’re driving with a child seat in the front passenger seat, the airbags should be turned off as they could injure the child if an accident occurs.

All you need to do is go to “Controls” from your Tesla touch screen, press on “safety”, then change the status of the airbags.

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