Audi A4 Owners Manual

Side airbags
Safety / Airbag system / Side airbags

Description of side airbags

The airbag system is not a substitute for the seat belts.

Audi A4: Side airbags. Location of side airbag in driver's seat

Location of side airbag in driver's seat

The side airbags are located in the backrest padding of the front seats ⇒ fig. 218. The locations of the airbags are marked with the word AIRBAG.

In conjunction with the three-point seat belts, the side airbags give the occupants additional protection for the whole upper part of the body (i.e. the chest, stomach and pelvis) in the event of a severe side collision ⇒ in Important safety notes on the side airbag system on page 206.

In a side collision the side airbags reduce the risk of injury to the areas of the body facing the impact.

If the side airbags are activated, the head-protection airbags (sideguard system) are always triggered at the same time for additional protection on the side of the vehicle facing the impact.

How the side airbags work

When fully inflated, the side airbags reduce the risk of injuries to the upper part of the body.

Audi A4: Side airbags. Side airbags in inflated condition

Side airbags in inflated condition

In certain types of side collisions the side airbags (front and rear*) are triggered on the impact side of the vehicle ⇒ fig. 219.

The front airbags, side airbags and the head-protection airbag may be triggered together in certain types of accident.

When the system is triggered, the airbag is filled with propellant gas.

In order to provide the desired extra protection in an accident, the airbags have to inflate extremely rapidly (within fractions of a second). The airbag releases a fine dust when it inflates. This is quite normal and does not mean there is a fire in the vehicle.

When fully deployed, the airbags cushion the impact for the occupants and help to reduce the risk of injury to the whole upper part of the body (i.e. the chest, stomach and pelvis) on the side facing the door.

Important safety notes on the side airbag system

There are a number of safety points concerning the airbag system which you should remember. This will help to reduce the risk of injury in an accident.

Audi A4: Side airbags. WARNING

  • If you do not wear a seat belt, if you lean forward, or are not seated correctly while the vehicle is in motion, you are at greater risk of injury should the side airbags on the front seats or the outer rear seats* be triggered in an accident. This applies particularly to children if they are not properly protected by a child restraint system, Important notes on side airbags and child safety.
  • If children are not seated correctly, they are at greater risk of injury in an accident. This is particularly the case if the child is travelling on the front passenger's seat and the airbag system is triggered. This could result in serious or potentially fatal injury, Child safety.
  • It is also important not to attach any accessories (such as cup holders) to the doors. This would impair the protection offered by the side airbags (front and rear*).
  • The sensors for the airbags are located in the front doors. You must therefore not make any modifications to the doors or door trim (e.g. retrofitting loudspeakers), as this could impair the function of the side airbags. Any damage to the front doors could lead to faults in the system. Repairs or any other work on the front doors must therefore always be carried out by a qualified workshop.
  • The built-in coat hooks should only be used for lightweight clothing. Do not leave any heavy or sharp-edged objects in the pockets.
  • Do not apply excessive force to the sides of the backrests (such as hard knocks or kicks), as this could damage parts of the system. The side airbags could then fail to operate when required.
  • If you intend to fit protective covers over the seats, these must be of the specific type approved for use on Audi seats with side airbags. Conventional seat covers would obstruct the side airbag when it inflates out of the backrest, and seriously reduce the airbag's effectiveness.
  • Any damage to the original seat upholstery or around the seams of the side airbag units must be repaired immediately by a qualified workshop.
  • Any work involving the side airbag system or removal and installation of the airbag components for other repairs (such as repairs to the seats) must always be performed by a qualified workshop. Otherwise the airbag system may fail to work properly.


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