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subaru forester-air bags don't work

johlerjohler Member Posts: 3
edited March 2014 in Subaru
while driving on slush covered road, brake lightly applied to avoid obstacle, brakes did not respond, had to move more to right side of road, front wheel caught in slush causing car to pull severely to right, over corrected and went off road, not really good thing for the forester, hitting culvert at more that30 mph. Air bags did not deploy, seat belt did not hold firmly. Driver hit head on windshield, resulting in confusion.
UniBODY bent (Ins co allows 6 hrs for this) plus substantial damage to front. I report my concerns to Subaru of America, spoke with Chris in customer care, who is basically not concerned nor sympathetic nor understanding. Subaru's position as indicated by Chris, customer care-Subaru, is he these things happen and Subaru is not interested till the Ins CO notifies them of their investigation. My Ins co has elected to further investigate. SUBARU SAFETY??????? NOT AS SAFE AS SUBARU ADVERTISEMENTS WOULD MAKE YOU THINK..


  • tlimatlima Member Posts: 124
    John, sounds like there was ice under that slush. It's probably tough to remember, but did you feel the brake pedal vibrate??? If so, then the anti-lock brakes were doing it's best to stop the vehicle and attempt to keep you in control of it. But on any very slippery surface (like ice), no brakes, ABS or otherwise will stop any vehicle.

    Seems like airbags should have deployed, but I have read that airbag deployment requires a very substantial impact. Your impact may have been just under the threshold. Investigation should prove this out. If the seat was very far forward and the seatbelt height adjustments were improperly set, there may be insufficient distance for the belts to bring you to a safe stop, but again, investigation should prove this. Please post results.

    I hope that everyone in the vehicle will make a full recovery and I can understand your frustration. You want justice and if the investigation results indicate safety problems you should have (and pursue!) a valid case against Subaru. Unfortunately, it is crashes such as yours that makes vehicles safer for everyone.

    I own the same car and believe that the GOOD ratings that the 2001 Forester received in both the Gov't Crash Tests and Highway Institute's independant tests back up Subaru's safety claims, barring any system failures.

    Please keep in touch as there are many sensible and knowlegeable Subaru owners here that will appreciate your comments and experiences.


  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Well phrased response. FYI, the deployment threshold of most SRS systems is a minimum of a 30 MPH impact into an unyielding fixed barrier, within 30 degrees of direct frontal, to activate the air bags.
  • marc40marc40 Member Posts: 3
    I was recently in a major accident and all four bags deployed and probably helped save my life. I hit mutiple objects at different times and they all seemed to work at just the right time. Gave me a black eye as well.

  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Glad to hear the air bags worked and you're still around. How extensive was the damage to your vehicle?
  • 0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    The SRS on a Subaru, unless it is an extrmely new one, are designed for frontal impact and not side impact. If the vehicle was doing 30 mph when it impacted the culvert, then the airbag should have deployed, but if the inertia wasn't severe enough,meaning it was lower than the speed that would cause the inertia sensor to activate the bag, then it wouldn't deploy the bag and for a good reason.As mark40 posted, even in an accident, it gave him black eyes. If the vehicle was moving less than 30 mph and the airbag did deploy, then it can do serious damage to you.
    Without knowing the exact distances and speeds and the fact that you have given an estimate of your speed on impact and the fact that the culvert would absorb some of the impact,then I would have to say that it sounds like it didn't fail.
  • werlwaswerlwas Member Posts: 1
    Please keep in mind that air bags will not always deploy. In order for them to activate one of the three sensors must be tripped. Typically cars have two crash sensors and one acceleration sensor. Also keep in mind that there are various levels at which air bags will deploy. The standards on air bags are evolving over time. You did not mention what model year vehicle you had.

    I don't have the owners manual for your vehicle on hand. If you look in the manual you will probably find information on the speeds at which the air bag system is designed to activate. The manual should also warn you about the types of accidents that the air bag will not deploy under.

    Anyone have the Subaru Forester owners manual? (I'd look in mine but my vehicle is on order - had not arrived yet)
    It might say something about it in the specifications section or in the air bag section. It should give you a range of crash speeds where the system is designed to trip. Let us know!
  • stevejjjjjstevejjjjj Member Posts: 31
    Title of Post #1:

    subaru forester 2001-air bags did not deploy,questionable brake failure
  • johlerjohler Member Posts: 3
    I appreciate the above comments re: air bags.
    At this time, the insurance co. has contacted NETS, a technical consulting firm in MA. They have contacted Subaru and invited them to have an engineer present to inspect our vehicle. Subaru is now requesting more information for my insurance No prior to sending an engineer out. Their response is that they do not have the resources to responding to all situations. I have asked Chris, SuBARU CUSTOMER SERVICE, if they have had many such request re: air bags, of course no answer.
    In earlier conversations with Chris, Subaru Cust. Care he stated that the air bags are designed to deploy as impact speeds greater than 14 mph.
    In addition my ins. o. has elected to purchase our vehicle as they may need it as this investigation continues.
    Re: the brakes, Subaru has had a recall for faulty master cylinders in 99 Foresters, this problem was noted to occur in cold weather..
    We will post updates as this saga moves forward.
  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    ...for the airbag deployment threshold in my '97 Camry, according to the owners manual. This is for hitting a solid unyielding object head-on (converts to 20 kph).
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    I'm surprised that the deployment threshold is as low as it is on your car. I wonder if it has anything to do with the amount or design of sheet metal "crumple zone" ahead of the driver?
  • paris6paris6 Member Posts: 1
    I thought I should share my recent experience with you. Just had a major accident with a 2001 Legacy GT sedan. Had the car 3 weeks when I tried to park it very slowly in work parking lot. Brakes failed and/or accelerator stuck. I pressed firmly on the brake to try to stop. There was a sudden lurching after that and I went through a wooden fence and into a ditch. I know my foot was not on the gas. Bounced off a tree. Driver side window shattered but I wasn't hurt except for cuts on left hand. My air bags also didn't deploy but I was going very slowly. There was some hard-packed snow and ice on driveway but nothing that the ABS and AWD hadn't been able to deal with in the first three weeks. It was very scary.
    Towed the car to dealer who tells me they can't find anything wrong with the car. Unfortunately, my insurance company doesn't want to take it any further at this point.
    Coincidentally, I'm also dealing with a "Chris" at Subaru of America. He told me that I can submit all my records to him for review. But yesterday, he advised that if the dealer couldn't find a defect, there was really nothing they could do. Car is now at the body shop.
    Thought these events sounded similar to your own. Any suggestions on how to deal with this now? Unfortunately, the car is a lease and I only had it the three weeks before this happened.
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