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Old 1st November 2014, 14:18   #1
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Default Brand new Skoda Octavia: Curtain Airbags deploy without impact / accident!

Shaikh Akbar recently faced this dilemma and shares his story with us.

He bought a Skoda Octavia DSG Diesel a few weeks backs. His car had 800 kms at the time of this incident. The Curtain Airbags (of the left side) opened without any collision or accident (speed of 40 - 50 kph). The front passenger door deformed slightly from the bottom, while the rear door deformed from the top. The protective plates (under the car) unbolted automatically. He checked under the car; not even a scratch on the protective plates, but they still opened up?

Skoda dealer in Kanpur has the car with him since the 15th of October. Dealership says 'we are still analyzing what has happened'. He's unhappy because he has yet to receive a clear explanation as to why this happened.

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Last edited by GTO : 1st November 2014 at 14:28.
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Old 1st November 2014, 14:39   #2
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Default Re: Brand new Skoda Octavia: Curtain Airbags deploy without impact / accident!

With the instances of more and more recalls, in particular to airbags, these incidences are scary, to say the least.

Big names, bigger recalls. Toyota, Nissan, Honda. All having one common recall issue- Takata!!

This is a high stake failure in the brand new "high end" Octavia and could have lead to accidents of a much larger magnitude!!

It is imperative that Skoda gets to the bottom of this, resolves it to the satisfaction of Shaikh Akbar and provide him with a courtesy car till the time his brand new car is with Skoda.
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Old 1st November 2014, 14:49   #3
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Default Re: Brand new Skoda Octavia: Curtain Airbags deploy without impact / accident!

The vehicle in question does seem free of external impact. The damage on the doors alignment caused by the exploding airbag is quite visible. For one the driver must feel extremely lucky that it was the passenger side airbag which went off. Had it been front/driver side airbags it would've caused the driver to not only lose focus due to the sudden explosion for no reason, it would've also physically pushed his body/hands away from the steering.

This is a dangerous occurrence and I don't think anybody should take this lightly. Airbags are there to function as a protection milliseconds after impact, not to explode randomly and be the cause of impact. The noise of it going off should be quite loud, enough to distract the drivers senses temporarily which is dangerous. Electrical malfunctions/failures are so common these days, be it sensors or wires or inputs but this is the first case of an airbag going off by itself that I've seen.

It used to be that the more you pay for anything.. for a good shirt to a car, that you'd get the quality/reliability/service equal to that price paid. Today it is no more the case. The service station is busy "investigating" the cause while the consumer has nothing to drive. My complaint is never brand specific, but incidents specific. The usual protocol is to keep the customer updated day by day, which not many companies do these days. I'm not against the safety that airbags provide, but to keep them fail-safe is even more important. Companies simply cannot carry on in their decadent ways with an excuse garbed in the form of a "one off case". Every one off case has a victim too.
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Old 1st November 2014, 14:49   #4
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Default Re: Brand new Skoda Octavia: Curtain Airbags deploy without impact / accident!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Shaikh Akbar recently faced this dilemma and shares his story with us.
GTO,

I hope no one was injured ? An Airbag deployment can cause serious injuries.

Just a thought but -
Do you think the car met with an small accident at the dealers before delivery? Dealer did a quick fix and tried to dispose of the car?
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Old 1st November 2014, 20:57   #5
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Default Re: Brand new Skoda Octavia: Curtain Airbags deploy without impact / accident!

Does these sensor work based on impact and in turn sending signals in the form of volts to the central unit. If thats the case i would even say rat bites at dealers stock yard.

More so that they would have found this and provided a quick fix which includes fixing the broken wire by tapes rather than soldering.

My o2 sensor had a rat bite and i tried fixing with simply cutting the wires and connecting. The voltage was quite different from the sensor and the ECU read as if the temperature is far higher than the actual which inturn made my AC super efficient in cooling(In other words was over working than it should).

This is my guess based on how these sensors send signals in the form of voltage and if indeed if the sensor malfunctioned it would have deployed the air bags thinking it was an impact.
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Old 4th November 2014, 16:50   #6
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Default Re: Brand new Skoda Octavia: Curtain Airbags deploy without impact / accident!

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnabchak View Post
Big names, bigger recalls. Toyota, Nissan, Honda. All having one common recall issue- Takata!
This incident has nothing to do with the Takata recall.

Quote:
It is imperative that Skoda gets to the bottom of this, resolves it to the satisfaction of Shaikh Akbar and provide him with a courtesy car till the time his brand new car is with Skoda.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dark.knight View Post
This is a dangerous occurrence and I don't think anybody should take this lightly. Airbags are there to function as a protection milliseconds after impact, not to explode randomly and be the cause of impact.
So true. An airbag exploding like this could actually cause an accident by distracting / unnerving the driver.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Slow View Post
I hope no one was injured ?
I hope not.

Quote:
Do you think the car met with an small accident at the dealers before delivery? Dealer did a quick fix and tried to dispose of the car?
Quote:
More so that they would have found this and provided a quick fix which includes fixing the broken wire by tapes rather than soldering.
No clue, honestly. Awaiting more light on the situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VW2010 View Post
If thats the case i would even say rat bites at dealers stock yard.
The Octavia's demand & supply are in sync right now, and there's no chance of one lying idle at a yard for too many days. I doubt this is the cause.
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Old 6th November 2014, 10:31   #7
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Default Brand new Skoda Octavia: Curtain Airbags deploy without impact / accident!

It's actually very simple and quite cutting edge engineering. The car was passing by a skoda service centre on the road. It immediately detected imminent danger to itself and its occupants and deployed the side airbags. :-)

On a serious note though it obviously points to a sensor malfunction I'd imagine (as a complete non techie person). Not sure why skoda can't give an explanation yet. Unless they don't want to say skoda and malfunction in the same sentence and admit the flaw.

Last edited by Axe77 : 6th November 2014 at 10:34.
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Old 6th November 2014, 10:45   #8
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Default Re: Brand new Skoda Octavia: Curtain Airbags deploy without impact / accident!

I sympathize with the Owner. Though dangerous, one-off cases of malfunctioning may happen with any brand. Given this is Skoda, it raises a few more eyebrows.

What is unacceptable is Skoda service keeping the car in garage for about three weeks with out any definitive answer to what happened.

If they can't figure it out, they need to fix the car at their expense and return it so that the customer who put his faith in Skoda and spend quite a bit of his money is not inconvenienced.
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Old 6th November 2014, 10:57   #9
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Default Re: Brand new Skoda Octavia: Curtain Airbags deploy without impact / accident!

Feel sorry for the owner, after spending so much money on a new car he has to endure this
Hope we get to hear the real reason for this problem (given Skoda's track record, I'm not sure they will share the correct reason behind this failure).

Also worrying is the fact that there have been many recalls (different vendors) in recent past related to air bag issues. With more focus now on safety and air bags becoming mandatory in coming years, I wonder if they will serve their purpose if they're defective themselves
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Old 6th November 2014, 11:03   #10
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Default Re: Brand new Skoda Octavia: Curtain Airbags deploy without impact / accident!

That is very unfortunate for the owner to have these sort of incidence at the beginning of his ownership experience. Here although we may agree that this had happened without any fault from skoda (until we get a clue as to what caused it), what we can't accept is the fact that they are holding the car for this long time just for the sake of inspection. The dealer should have started the repair job by now. Or is it that they are trying to find something so that they can put the blame on the owner and save the dent in their own pocket. These are the times to act quickly to gain the confidence of the customers. They are in the process of re-building the brand in India. They can not afford to make any more customer dissatisfied.
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Old 6th November 2014, 13:40   #11
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Default Re: Brand new Skoda Octavia: Curtain Airbags deploy without impact / accident!

What an irony!
The features which are supposed to protect us are becoming the cause of the damage.

What if the driver was doing 100+kmph speeds on a highway and that airbag explosion would have taken his concentration off the road fully and might have resulted in minor/major accident.
I just wish that it was a lone incident and not some technical fault which may affect other Octavias too.

The new Octavia have been hassle free for majority of the owners, and I pray that it does not join the ranks of Skoda Superb(for DSG failures) and BMW(for unintended acceleration).
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Old 6th November 2014, 13:48   #12
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Default Re: Brand new Skoda Octavia: Curtain Airbags deploy without impact / accident!

I cant think of anything but a faulty sensor, even otherwise the fault codes are handled in such a way to have the airbags fail rather than deploy and show the warning. All these systems have been bypassed (hoping its there), it could be either an ill fitment of the sensor into the B-Pillar or some modification done by the owner that interfered with the sensors. Skoda really needs to get to the bottom of this issue!
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Old 6th November 2014, 14:13   #13
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Default Re: Brand new Skoda Octavia: Curtain Airbags deploy without impact / accident!

Really unfortunate that such an incident has occurred just in the initial days of ownership. We are talking about a premium product here and obviously the owner expects to have a niggle-free experience.

Although the customer experience has improved from the days of Ambassador and Premier Padmini, instances such as these make me think that we should have Lemon law here in India just as is the case with most of the developed countries.

The warranties provided by manufacturers cover only so much aspects. In most of the cases, manufacturers or service centre personnel, try to wash their hands of defects reported under warranty by directing owners to their proprietary brand owner and suppliers or original equipment manufacturers. Lemon Laws uphold the consumer interest in cases such as these and give leeway for the end user. The customer can return the car back at the dealership and demand a refund. It's high time that our government passes such laws.
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Old 6th November 2014, 14:35   #14
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Default Re: Brand new Skoda Octavia: Curtain Airbags deploy without impact / accident!

It is not so easy to tell upfront why the chemicals were detonated unless there are trained professionals specific to restraint system. I have worked on one of several restraint modules and it is not easy. However if the A.S.S can take out data from ACU, it should not take much time to identify the reason for detonation.

All modern cars have Airbag control unit (ACU) which are linked to impact sensors, accelerometers, door pressure sensors, ABS, passenger occupancy sensors etc. Real time informations are fed to ACU from all these sensors and ACU can decide which section of Airbag it has to detonate based on the default set data. Malfunction of any one of the sensors or the connecting cables (usually called squib assembly) can result in such incidents.
Small impacts do not open airbags unless there is a malfunction.

Was there any airbag indication glowing in the cluster? usually, minor electrical problems will give an indication to driver.
Could be that the door pressure sensors are the culprit. Was this portion of door worked on by A.S.S before delivery?

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Old 6th November 2014, 14:40   #15
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Default Re: Brand new Skoda Octavia: Curtain Airbags deploy without impact / accident!

I am really shocked of a german build car and seeing this for the first time.

One of my friend had an hyundai I20 car,once he met with an severe accident and unfortunately the Airbags dint turn Up(No injuries).So he took it to an authorised service center and that guy was just giving him answers with no logic.But later on after a long argument, management deciced to compensate him on his car.

Please try to talk to your service center and get it rectified with no Cost.

Thanks
Vimal Gurram
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