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S40 & V40

Chapter 1 - Occupant safety

pg. 1 Occupant safety

Occupant safety

Not wearing a seat belt is like believing "It'll never happen to me!" Volvo, the inventor of the three-point seat belt, urges you and all adult occupants of your car to wear seat belts and ensure that children are properly restrained, using an infant, car or booster seat determined by age, weight and height. Volvo also believes no child should sit in the front seat of a car and that no one under 4 feet 7 inches (140 cm) should ride as a passenger in the front seat of any vehicle equipped with a passenger side airbag.

Fact: In every state and province, some type of child-restraint legislation has been passed. Additionally, most states and provinces have already made it mandatory for occupants of a car to use seat belts.

So, urging you to "buckle up" is not just our recommendation - legislation in your state or province may mandate seat belt usage. The few seconds it takes to buckle up may one day allow you to say, "It's a good thing I was wearing my seat belt".

Seat belts 2
Volvo SRS 4
Side Impact Protection System - (SIPS) airbag 8
IC-system 10
Child safety, Booster cushion 11
Child restraint anchorages 14
Reporting Safety Defects 16

pg. 2 Seat belts

Seat belts

Always fasten the seat belts before you drive or ride.

Two lights above the rear view mirror will be illuminated for 4-8 seconds after the starting (ignition) key is turned to the driving position. A chime will sound at the same time if the driver has not fastened his or her seat belt. The rear seats are provided with self-retracting inertial reel belts. The front seats are provided with single roller belts with tensioners.
The front seat belts also include a tension reducing device which, in the event of a collision, limits the peak forces exerted by the seat belt on the occupant.

To buckle:

Pull the belt out far enough to insert the latch plate into the buckle until a distinct snapping sound is heard. The seat belt retractor is normally "unlocked" and you can move freely, provided that the shoulder belt is not pulled out too far. The retractor will lock up as follows:

  • if the belt is pulled out rapidly
  • during braking and acceleration
  • if the vehicle is leaning excessively
  • when driving in turns

    For the seat belt to provide maximum protection in the event of an accident, it must be worn correctly. When wearing the seat belt remember:

  • The belt should not be twisted or turned.
  • The lap belt must be positioned low on the hips (not pressing against the abdomen).
  • The shoulder section of the front seat belts adjusts automatically to the driver's height.

    Adjusting the shoulder belt

    Lap portion of the seat belt should sit low

  • Make sure that the shoulder belt is rolled up into its retractor and that the shoulder and lap belts are taut.
  • Before exiting the car, check that the seat belt retracts fully after being unbuckled. If necessary, guide the belt back into the retractor slot.

    NOTE: Legislation in your state or province may mandate seat belt usage.

    During pregnancy

    Pregnant women should always wear seat belts. Remember that the belt should always be positioned in such a way as to avoid any possible pressure on the abdomen. The lap portion of the belt should be located low, as shown in the above illustration.

    pg. 3 Seat belts, Head restraints


  • Never use a seat belt for more than one occupant.
  • Never wear the shoulder portion of the belt under the arm, behind the back or otherwise out of position. Such use could cause injury in the event of an accident.
  • As the seat belts lose much of their strength when exposed to violent stretching, they should be replaced after any collision, even if they appear to be undamaged.
  • Never repair the belt on your own; have this work done by an authorized Volvo retailer only.
  • Any device used to induce slack into the shoulder belt portion of the three-point belt system will have a detrimental effect on the amount of protection available to you in the event of a collision.
  • The seat back should not be tilted too far back. The shoulder belt must be taut in order to function properly.
  • Do not use child safety seats or child booster cushions/backrests in the front passenger's seat. We also recommend that children who have outgrown these devices sit in the rear seat with the seat belt properly fastened.

  • Rear head restraints

    The rear head restraints can be adjusted according to the passenger's height. The restraint should be carefully adjusted to support the occupant's head.
    The head restraint can be raised by pulling straight up or lowered by pressing the catch (1) at the base of the left head restraint support and pushing down.

    Removing/replacing the head restraints

    When folding the rear seats flat for carrying cargo (see page 55), head restraints should be fully removed by pulling all the way up, pressing the catch at base of the left support and pulling the head restraint all the way out. Be sure to reinstall and adjust head restraints to their proper position before allowing passengers to occupy the seats.

    pg. 4 Volvo SRS

    Passenger side SRS hatch

    As an enhancement to the three-point seat belt system, your Volvo is equipped with a Supplemental Restraint System (SRS). The Volvo SRS consists of an airbag (2) on both the driver's and passenger's sides and seat belt tensioners in both front door pillars (4). The system is designed to supplement the protection provided by the three-point seat belt system.

    The SRS system is indicated by the "SRS" embossed on the steering wheel pad and above the glove compartment, and by decals on both sun visors and on the far right side of the dash.

    The airbags are folded and located in the steering wheel hub and above the glove compartment. They are designed to deploy during certain frontal or front-angular collisions, impacts, or decelerations, depending on the crash severity, angle, speed and object impacted. The airbags may also deploy in certain non-frontal collisions where rapid deceleration occurs.

    The airbag system includes inflators (1) surrounded by the airbags (2) and front seat belt tensioners for both of the front seats (4). To deploy the system, the sensor (3) activates the gas generators causing the airbags to be inflated with nitrogen gas. As the movement of the seats' occupants compresses the airbags, some of the gas is expelled at a controlled rate to provide better cushioning. Both seat belt tensioners also deploy, minimizing any seat belt slack.

    The entire process, including inflation and deflation of the airbags, takes approximately two-tenths of a second.


  • As its name implies, SRS is designed to be a SUPPLEMENT to - not a replacement for - the three-point belt system. For maximum protection, wear seat belts at all times. Be aware that no system can prevent all possible injuries that may occur in an accident.
  • When installing any optional equipment, make sure that the SRS system is not damaged. Do not attempt to service any component of the SRS yourself. Attempting to do so may result in serious personal injury. If a problem arises, take your car to the nearest authorized Volvo retailer for inspection as soon as possible.

  • pg. 5 Volvo SRS

    A self-diagnostic system incorporated into the sensor monitors the SRS, SIPS and IC-system. If a fault is detected, the "SRS" warning light will illuminate. The light is included in the warning/indicator light cluster in the instrument panel. Normally, the SRS warning lamp should light up when the ignition is switched on and should go out after 5 seconds or when the engine is started. Check that this light is functioning properly every time the car is started.

    The following items are monitored by the self-diagnostic system:

  • Sensor unit
  • SRS wiring
  • Inflators


    Never drive an SRS equipped car with your hands on the steering wheel pad / airbag housing.

    No objects, accessory equipment or stickers may be placed on, attached to or installed near the SRS cover in the center of the steering wheel, the SRS cover above the glove compartment or the area affected by airbag deployment.

    If the SRS warning light stays on after the engine has started or if it comes on while you are driving, drive the car to the nearest authorized Volvo retailer for inspection as soon as possible.

    SRS decal on door pillar driver's side

    There is no maintenance to perform on the SRS yourself. The month and year shown on the decal on the door pillar indicate when you should contact your Volvo retailer for specific servicing or replacement of airbags and seatbelt tensioners. This service must be performed by an authorized Volvo retailer.

    Should you have any questions about the SRS system, please contact your authorized Volvo retailer or Volvo Customer Support:

    In the USA: In Canada:
    Volvo Cars of North America Volvo Cars of Canada Ltd.
    Customer Relations 175 Gordon Baker Road
    P.O. Box 914 Willowdale, Ontario M2H 2N7
    Rockleigh, New Jersey 07647-0914 1-800-663-8255

    pg. 6 Volvo SRS

    SRS texts on outside of both sun visors

    SRS texts on inside of both sun visors

    SRS texts on the passenger's dash

    SRS text at far right of dash

    Do not use child safety seats or child booster cushions/backrests in the front passenger's seat. We also recommend that children who have outgrown these devices sit in the rear seat with the seat belt properly fastened.

    NOTE: Deployment of SRS components occurs only one time during an accident. In a collision where deployment occurs, the airbags and seat belt tensioners activate. Some noise occurs and a small amount of powder is released. The release of the powder may appear as smoke-like matter. This is a normal characteristic and does not indicate fire.

    NOTE: Volvo's dual-threshold airbags use special sensors that are integrated with the front seat buckles. The point at which the airbag deploys is determined by whether or not the seat belt is being used, as well as, the severity of the collision. Collisions can occur where only one of the airbags deploys.


  • Children must never be allowed in the front passenger seat. Volvo recommends that ALL occupants (adults and children) shorter than 4 feet 7 inches (140 cm) be seated in the back seat of any vehicle with a front passenger side airbag.
  • Occupants in the front passenger's seat must never sit on the edge of the seat, sit leaning toward the instrument panel or otherwise sit out of position. The occupant's back must be as upright as comfort allows and be against the seat back with the seat belt properly fastened.
  • Feet must be on the floor, e.g. not on the dash, seat or out of the window.
  • No objects or accessory equipment, e.g. dash covers, may be placed on, attached to or installed near the SRS hatch (the area above the glove compartment) or the area affected by airbag deployment (see illustration on page 4).
  • There should be no loose articles, e.g. coffee cups, on the floor, seat or dash area.
  • Never try to open the SRS cover on the steering wheel or the passenger side SRS seam. This should only be done by an authorized Volvo service technician.
  • Failure to follow these instructions can result in injury to the vehicle occupants in an accident.

  • pg. 7 Volvo SRS

    NOTE: The information on this page does not pertain to the Side Impact Protection System airbags.

    When are the airbags deployed?

    The SRS system is designed to deploy during certain frontal or front-angular collisions, impacts, or decelerations, depending on the crash severity, angle, speed and object impacted. The SRS sensor is designed to react to both the impact of the collision and the inertial forces generated by it and to determine if the intensity of the collision is sufficient for the airbags to be deployed.

    The SRS is designed to help prevent serious injury. Deployment occurs very quickly and with considerable force. During normal deployment and depending on variables such as seating position, one may experience abrasions, bruises, swellings, or other injuries as a result of airbag deployment.

    If the airbags have been deployed, we recommend the following:

  • Have the car towed to an authorized Volvo retailer. Never drive with the airbags deployed.
  • Have an authorized Volvo retailer replace the SRS system components.
  • Use only new, Genuine Volvo Parts when replacing SRS components (airbags, seat belts, tensioners, etc.).

    When are the airbags NOT deployed?

    Not all frontal collisions activate the SRS system. If the collision involves a non-rigid object (e.g., a snow drift or bush), or a rigid, fixed object at a low speed, the SRS system will not necessarily deploy. Front airbags do not normally deploy in a side impact collision, in a collision from the rear or in a rollover situation. The amount of damage to the bodywork does not reliably indicate if the airbags should have deployed or not.

    Seat belts - the heart of the Volvo safety system

    The heart of the Volvo safety system is the three-point seat belt (a Volvo invention)! In order for the SRS system to provide the protection intended, seat belts must be worn at all times by everyone in the car.
    The SRS system is a supplement to the seat belts.

    If your car has been subjected to flood conditions (e.g. soaked carpeting/standing water on the floor of the vehicle) or if your car has become flood-damaged in any way, do not attempt to start the vehicle or put the key in the ignition before disconnecting the battery (see below). This may cause airbag deployment which could result in personal injury. Have the car towed to an authorized Volvo retailer for repairs.

    Before attempting to tow the car, use the following procedure to override the shiftlock system to move the gear selector to the neutral position.

  • Disconnect the battery
  • Wait at least one minute
  • Insert the key in the ignition and turn it to position 1
  • Press firmly on the shiftlock override button (located near the base of the gear selector)
  • While holding the override button down, move the gear selector from the park position.

    Never drive with the airbags deployed. The fact that they hang out can impair the steering of your car. Other safety systems can also be damaged. The smoke and dust formed when the airbags are deployed can cause skin and eye irritation in the event of prolonged exposure.

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