Your automobile is specially designed to provide a comfortable and efficient ride, while protecting all of its occupants. It can sometimes be a delicate balance to achieve both safety and comfort in equal measure, but often technologies overlap in order to do this. This can be a particular area of focus for engineers and designers when they are creating the all-important driver and passenger seats, but does this effort get in the way of you fitting custom seat covers?.
Keeping Passengers Safe
Designers are very careful to protect a car's occupants in the event of a collision from a multitude of different directions. To do this, a number of different airbags are now installed, which will deploy when precise sensors indicate an intrusion. In times gone by, these airbags would only be deployed in front, but now they are also fitted within the driver and passenger seats, in order to protect occupants from a sideways impact.
That's All Very Well, but…
This development posed a challenge for manufacturers of custom seat covers. Many people choose to add these covers to stamp their own personality on the vehicle and provide an additional layer of comfort for the occupants. However, surely an old-style seat cover would hinder the deployment of an airbag based in the seat?
Futuristic Seat Covers
To avoid this problem, manufacturers have introduced a very similar type of technology to that being used by the makers of the seat. As a consequence, the seat cover is designed in sections, with the area that sits on top of the airbag deployment zone stitched in a different way. The seat cover manufacturers use the same threads that the actual seat manufacturers use, for this particular purpose. In the industry, this is known as a "certified airbag seam" and it is very precisely rated according to the length of the stitches and their number. Furthermore, they have to be installed precisely so that they are set at the right tension. When all of this is done properly, the seat cover and the side of the seat break at the same time in a split-second, so the airbag can be deployed correctly.
It's also important to ensure that the seat covers do not move when they are attached to the seat, otherwise this modified section might shift so that it is no longer over the airbag deployment zone. Consequently, all seat covers of this type have to be specially fastened, so that they do not move.
So, if you're wondering how your side airbags would work if you decided to fit custom seat covers, worry no longer. You can personalise the interior of your car to your heart's content and remain safe at the same time.