BMW 5 Series Owners & Service Manuals

BMW 5 Series: 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

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


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


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

Do not touch individual components.


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

switched on,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.


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

    Have the system checked.

Automatic deactivation of the front-seat passenger airbags


The system reads if the front passenger seat is occupied by measuring the human body's resistance.

Front, knee, and side airbag on the front passenger's side are activated or deactivated.

General information

Before transporting a child on the front passenger seat, refer to the safety information and instructions for children on the front passenger seat, see Children.

Safety information


To ensure the front-seat passenger airbag function, the system must be able to detect whether a person is sitting in the front passenger seat. The entire seat cushion area must be used for this purpose. There is a risk of injuries or danger to life. Make sure that the front passenger keeps his or her feet in the floor area.

Malfunction of the automatic deactivation system

When transporting older children and adults, the front-seat passenger airbags may be deactivated in certain sitting positions. In this case, the indicator light for the front-seat passenger airbags lights up.

In this case, change the sitting position so that the front-seat passenger airbags are activated and the indicator light goes out.

If it is not possible to activate the airbags, have the person sit in the rear.

To enable correct recognition of the occupied seat cushion.

  • Do not attach covers, cushions, ball mats or other items to the front passenger seat unless they are specifically determined to be safe for use on the front passenger seat.
  • Do not place any electronic devices on the front passenger seat if a child restraint system is to be installed on it.
  • Do not place objects under the seat that could press against the seat from below.
  • No moisture in or on the seat.

Indicator light for the front-seat passenger airbags

The indicator light for the front-seat passenger airbag in the roofliner indicates the operating state of the front-seat passenger airbag.

The light indicates whether the airbags are either activated or deactivated.

After drive-ready state is switched on, the light briefly lights up and then indicates whether the airbags are either activated or deactivated.

  • upThe indicator light lights up when a child is properly seated in a child restraint system or when the seat is empty. The airbags on the front passenger side are not activated.
  • The indicator light does not light up when, for instance a correctly seated person of sufficient size is detected on the seat. The airbags on the front passenger side are activated.

Detected child restraint systems

The system generally detects children seated in a child restraint system, particularly in child restraint systems required by NHTSA at the point in time when the vehicle was manufactured. After installing a child restraint system, make sure that the indicator light for the front-seat passenger airbags lights up. This indicates that the child restraint system has been detected and the front-seat passenger airbags are not activated.

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


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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