Tesla Model 3 Owners & Service Manuals

Tesla Model 3: Controlling the Passenger Front Airbag

Model 3 has an occupancy sensor in the front passenger seat that controls the status of the front airbag.

Note: The occupancy classification system (OCS) meets the regulatory requirement of FMVSS 208 and automatically detects when inflating the passenger front airbag would be unnecessary or potentially harmful.

Warning: Seating an infant in a rear facing child safety seat on a seat equipped with an operational airbag can cause serious injury or death.

Controlling the Passenger Front Airbag


Note: It takes approximately six seconds after you power on Model 3 for the occupant classification system (OCS) to report accurate status of the front passenger airbag. As a result, when you first power on Model 3, even in situations when it should be OFF because the seat is occupied by a weight of 20 lbs (9 kg) or less, it will take the touchscreen approximately six seconds to display the status, PASS AIRBAG OFF. If it fails to do so, contact Tesla Service and do not seat a child in the front passenger seating position.

To make sure the sensing system can correctly detect occupancy status, eliminate the following:

  • Objects lodged under the seat.
  • Heavy objects sitting on the seat (briefcase, large purse).
  • Objects wedged between the seat back and seat cushion.
  • Cargo interfering with the seat.
  • Aftermarket items attached to, or sitting on or between, the seat and occupant including but not limited to covers, mats, blankets, etc.

These conditions can interfere with the occupancy sensor. If you have eliminated the above possibilities, and the airbag status is still incorrect, ask passengers to ride in the rear seats and contact Tesla to have the airbag system checked.

Note: The front passenger occupancy sensor affects the operation of the passenger front airbags only. The side airbags are not affected.

Warning: If the front passenger airbag is not turning on or off as expected based on the weight thresholds previously described, contact Tesla immediately.

Warning: If seating a child in the front passenger seat is legally permissible in your market region, it is the driver's responsibility to ensure that the passenger front airbag is OFF. Never seat a child in a rear facing safety seat in the front passenger seat with an active airbag.

DEATH or SERIOUS INJURY to the child can occur. Per recommendations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, all occupants age 12 and under must ride in the rear seats.

Warning: Do not use seat covers on Model 3. Doing so could restrict deployment of the seatmounted side air bags if a collision occurs. It can also reduce the accuracy of the occupant detection system, if equipped.

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