BMW 3 Owners & Service Manuals

BMW 3: Airbags


  1. Front airbag, driver
  2. Front airbag, front passenger
  3. Head airbag
  4. Side airbag
  5. Knee airbag

Front airbags

Front airbags help protect the driver and the front passenger by responding to frontal impacts in which safety belts alone would not provide adequate protection.

Side airbag

In the event of a side impact, the side airbag protects the side of the body in the chest and lap area.

Head airbag

In the event of a side impact, the head airbag protects the head.

Ejection Mitigation

The head airbag system is designed as an ejection mitigation countermeasure to reduce the likelihood of ejections of vehicle occupants through side windows during rollovers or side impact events.

Knee airbag

Depending on the equipment: The knee airbag protects the legs in the event of a frontal impact.

Protective effect

General information

Airbags are not triggered in every impact situation, e.g., in less severe accidents.

Information on optimum effect of the airbags

Warning If the seat position is incorrect or the deployment area of the airbags is impaired, the airbag system cannot provide protection as intended and may cause additional injuries due to triggering.

There is a risk of injuries or danger to life. Follow the information on achieving the optimum protective effect of the airbag system.

  • Keep a distance from the airbags.
  • Always grasp the steering wheel on the steering wheel rim. Hold your hands at the 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions, to keep the risk of injury to your hands or arms as low as possible when the airbag is triggered.
  • Make sure that the front passenger is sitting correctly, i.e., keeps his or her feet and legs in the floor area and does not support them on the dashboard.
  • Make sure that occupants keep their heads away from the side airbag.
  • There should be no additional persons, animals or objects between an airbag and a person.
  • Dashboard and windshield on the front passenger side must stay clear - do not attach adhesive labels or coverings and do not attach brackets or cables, for instance for GPS devices or mobile phones.
  • Do not apply adhesive materials to the airbag cover panels, do not cover them or modify them in any way.
  • Do not use the cover of the front airbag on the front passenger side as a storage area.
  • Do not attach slip covers, seat cushions or other objects to the front passenger seat that are not specifically suited for seats with integrated side airbags.
  • Do not hang pieces of clothing, such as jackets, over the backrests.
  • Never modify either the individual components or the wiring in the airbag system. This also applies to steering wheel covers, the dashboard, and the seats.
  • Do not remove the airbag system.

Even when you follow all instructions very closely, injury from contact with the airbags cannot be fully ruled out in certain situations.

The ignition and inflation noise may lead to short-term and, in most cases, temporary hearing impairment in sensitive occupants.

Vehicle modifications for a person with disabilities may affect the air bag system; contact BMW Customer Relations for further information.

Warnings and information on the airbags are also found on the sun visors.

Functional readiness of the airbag system

Safety information

Warning Individual components can be hot after triggering of the airbag system. There is a risk of injury.

Do not touch individual components.

Warning Improperly executed work can lead to failure, malfunction or unintentional triggering of the airbag system. In the case of a malfunction, the airbag system might not trigger as intended despite the accident severity. There is a risk of injuries or danger to life. Have the airbag system checked, repaired, dismantled and scrapped by a dealer's service center or another qualified service center or repair shop.

Display in the instrument cluster

When drive-ready state is switched on, the warning light in the instrument cluster lights up briefly and thereby indicates the function readiness of the entire airbag system and the belt tensioners.


  • Warning light does not come on when drive-ready state is switched on.
  • The warning light lights up continuously.

    Have the system checked.

Strength of the driver's and front-seat passenger airbag

The explosive power that activates driver's/front-seat passenger airbags very much depends on the positions of the driver's/front passenger seat.

To maintain the accuracy of this function over the long term, calibrate the front seats as soon as a respective message appears on the Control Display.

Calibrating the front seats

Warning There is a risk of jamming when moving the seats. There is a risk of injury or risk of damage to property. Make sure that the area of movement of the seat is clear prior to any adjustment.

A corresponding message appears on the Control Display.

1. Press the switch and move the respective seat all the way forward, until it stops.

2. Press the switch forward again. The seat still moves forward slightly.

3. Readjust the seat to the desired position.

The calibration procedure is completed when the message on the Control Display disappears.

If the message continues to be displayed, repeat the calibration.

If the message does not disappear after a repeat calibration, have the system checked as soon as possible.


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     Tow-starting and towing

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     Procedure after an accident

    The safety concept of the high-voltage system ensures that, even during or after an accident, there is no danger to the customer, the rescue services or the service employee. The high-voltage system is automatically switched off in the event of an accident in such a way that no dangerous voltage

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