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Mazda Tribute Air Bag Experience

Let me start off by saying I never had a complaint about my '03 Tribute LS. I liked the car a lot. However, I was just involved in an accident where I T-Boned another car. We were both going at a pretty decent rate of speed and while my Tribute had it's entire front smashed in (car was totaled), the air bags never deployed. It took a direct hit in the front at a good speed and they never deployed. So far, everyone that has seen the car (paramedics, cops, insurance adjuster, body shop, etc...) has said they can't believe they didn't deploy. This is the only thing that is keeping me from getting another Mazda, and I was just wondering if anyone else has had similiar experiences with their Tributes or Mazdas where air bags failed to deploy. When I get a pic of the car from the body shop, I'll see if I can post it here.


  • frankie9frankie9 Posts: 1
    I got rear-ended at 60 miles/hr while I was on a dead stop and of course, I got pushed into the car infront of me. My airbag didn't go off and I was told that I was supposed to be going over 30 miles per hour for the air bag to get activated. I had the air bag checked at the dealer and they said it was fine. Four months ago, the light turned on and at the dealer they replaced one of the sensors on the driver's seat and I have no problems after that.
  • I had a 2002 Tribute. My airbag did not deploy even though I was traveling 35-40 mph when a truck pulled in front of me. I hit the truck full force head on. The front of the Tribute was completely smashed in and the hood buckled. It was a severe enough hit that I had neck and back injuries requiring Physical Therapy.
    It is very concerning and I don't think I'll be getting another Mazda anytime soon.
  • I have an 03 Tribute, why does the air bag light stay on. Has anyone had this happen. Light stays on steady, it is not flashing. I've read on other sites that it cld be on from adjusting the drivers seat?? There is a connection underneath and I shld disconnect & reconnect the wires and than the light shld go off Will the airbag work?? Also, I've read it could be a sensor. I think I'm going to have Mazda look at it. Just though I'd put a question out to anyone who's had this problem.
    Thanks for any help anyone has to offer.
  • sorry. totally forgot about this thread. Here's my '03 Tribute. I don't recall hearing about many people having problems with this, but I wonder how widespread a problem it is and if anything could be done about it as far as restitution?

    <img src=""

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  • I purchased my 2002 Tribute in June of 02. Immediately the light was an issue, alarming me at first that something was wrong. I continued to get it turned off under warranty and too this day for a total of 8 or 9 times which I have refused to pay for. The dealer wants $150 to turn it off. One service guy had the balls to tell me after the fifth time to stop letting empty water bottles roll under the driver seat. I told him that if empty water bottles continued to make that light come on, they have much bigger problems than me. Obviously now that I have found this forum.....I am correct. I just paid $3000 for a new transmission at 82,000 miles........and now the idle is fluddering. I'm getting rid of it as soon as I can.
  • It depends on how the car senses the severity of the impact. Airbags are a last resort measure. In plenty of crashes the seat belt and seat belt pretensioners will do the job. In some 35mph car to car crash tests, the airbags in top rated cars won't deploy because they're not necessary and the seat belts are adequate. Did you hit your head violently on the steering wheel? If not the airbag wouldn't have helped thus the reason it didn't deploy.
  • I am wondering why Mazda is not being held accountable for the faulty airbag system. There are serious safety defects within the design, construction and performance of the airbag system on the Tributes. A defect trend exists and as of yet there is no recall. The airbags will not deploy in accident if the airbag light is on and this light is constantly on no matter how many times Mazda fixes it. You cannot drive this car with confidence due to this safety issue. It is mandated by the United States government that all cars have functioning airbags therefore, Mazda is breaking the law.
  • speed and how bad car is wrecked are irrelevant to if the bags should go off. it goes by how much impact to the passengers. the more the car crushes the least likly to go off. rule of thumb..if you didnt get hurt they should have gone off.
  • i have mazda tribute dx 2004 . last couple of monts air bag light blinking .some time in rainy days the light vanish .can some tell me whats the reason .
  • longo84longo84 Posts: 1
    edited November 2013
    In my 2001 LX, I just got sideswiped head on while sitting at a stop sign. I'm glad to still be around... it wasn't a "huge" collision but I very much expected the airbag I've stared at for the past twelve plus years ( I actually got it in November of 2000) to have gone off if for no other reason shear boredom. I like my Tribute very much it had 204K miles ( replaced AC, transmission and alternator-twice) but and has gone from Chicago to Miami and is still a powerful mid size SUV. But as much as I want to get another... this air bag issue has me very much on the fence if not flat out spooked. I checking out info on the 2005 models, I think this is when Mazda restyled and made some changes, I hope.

    Bag less but Blessed
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited November 2013
    Hm, "sideswiped head on" may be the problem. The air bag sensors are designed to trigger in specific kinds of accidents and this one may not have hit in the "right" way.

    Triggering Conditions (Wikipedia)

    Glad you're okay!
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