Tesla Model 3 Owners & Service Manuals

Tesla Model 3: How Airbags Work

Airbags inflate when sensors detect an impact that exceeds deployment thresholds. These thresholds are designed to predict the severity of a crash in time for the airbags to help protect the vehicle's occupants. Airbags inflate instantly with considerable force accompanied by a loud noise. The inflated bag, together with the seat belts, limits movement of occupants to reduce the risk of injury.

Front airbags are not ordinarily designed to inflate in rear collisions, rollovers, side collisions and when braking heavily or driving over bumps and potholes. Likewise, front airbags may not inflate in all frontal collisions, such as minor front collisions, underride collisions, or minor impacts with narrow objects (such as posts or poles). Significant superficial damage can occur to the vehicle without the airbags inflating and, conversely, a relatively small amount of structural damage can cause airbags to inflate. Therefore, the external appearance of the vehicle after a collision does not represent whether or not the front airbags should have inflated.

Warning: Before modifying your vehicle to accommodate a person with disabilities in a way that may affect the airbag system, contact Tesla.

Types of Airbags

Model 3 has the following types of airbags:

  • Front airbags: The front airbags are designed to reduce injuries if larger children or adults are riding in the front seats. Follow all warnings and instructions related to seating a child on the front passenger seat (if permitted in your market region).
  • Knee airbags: Knee airbags and the front airbags work together. The knee airbags limit the forward motion of the front seat occupants by restricting leg movement, thereby positioning the occupants so that the front airbags work more effectively.
  • Seat-mounted side airbags: A seatmounted side airbag in the front seats helps protect the pelvis and the thorax region of the torso. The seat-mounted side airbags on both the impacted and non-impacted side of the vehicle will inflate in the event of severe side impact or severe offset frontal impact.
  • Curtain airbags: Curtain airbags help protect the head. Curtain airbags on both the impacted and non-impacted side of the vehicle will inflate only if a severe side impact occurs, or if the vehicle rolls over.

Passenger Front Airbag Status

The status of the passenger front airbag displays in the top corner of the touchscreen:

Before driving with a child seat
on the front passenger seat (if legally permitted in your market region), always double-check the status of the passenger front airbag to confirm that it is OFF. When the passenger front airbag is OFF, it will not inflate when a collision occurs. This indicator also displays when the seat is unoccupied.

To protect an adult occupying
the front passenger seat, ensure the passenger front airbag is ON. When the passenger front airbag is ON, it may inflate when a collision occurs.


     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 FMVS

     Ensuring Accurate Occupant Classification

    To help ensure an occupant in the front passenger seat can be accurately classified, the passenger must: Wear a seat belt.  Sit upright on the center of the seat cushion, with shoulders

     Inflation Effects

    Warning: When airbags inflate, a fine powder is released. This powder can irritate the skin and should be thoroughly flushed from the eyes and from any cuts or abrasions. After inflation, the air


     Cooling System (Vacuum Refill)

    SPECIAL TOOLS Refiller, Cooling System (1050448-00-A) Procedure Note: It is important that the drive rails remain off throughout this procedure. If the drive rails become active, such as from touching the brake pedal, an error is displayed in Toolbox. If this happens, you must disable the drive r

     Spring - Rear Suspension - LH - Remove

      SPECIAL TOOLS Tool, Spring Compressor, Hook, Model 3 (1135103-00-A) Remove Raise and support the vehicle on a 2 post lift. See Raise Vehicle - 2 Post Lift.

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