Most airbag crash sensors are located in the front of the vehicle. Domestic vehicles typically have between one and three sensors located in the crush zones at the front of the automobile.
American cars have their crash sensors in the front of the vehicle and usually contain more sensors than European models. Crash sensors are designed to deploy airbags when they detect a sudden deceleration resulting from a frontal collision.
The most common crash sensor used in domestic vehicles is the electromechanical sensor. This sensor has a ball and tube design located at the front of the vehicle. When the automobile receives a hard enough jolt due to a collision, the ball comes out of the tube. If the ball is released from the tube, the airbags deploy. After impact, the ball returns to its position.
Experts recommend using a professional to reinstall or replace airbag sensors after an airbag deployment. Home mechanics that undertake the task themselves must be certain the replacement sensor is the correct one for the vehicle. The new crash sensor must be installed in exactly the same location as the old sensor; placing the sensor in a new location may result in the airbag accidentally deploying or not deploying in the event of an accident.