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Chrysler - Dodge Neon Safety Features

A driver air bag supplemental restraint system is standard. The air bag is fully effective only when the active belt system is worn. The gas generator is smaller and lighter than on some previous Chrysler air bags, contributing to a less bulky steering wheel module.


A passenger air bag supplemental restraint system is standard. The air bag is fully effective only when the active belt system is worn. The pyrotechnic air bag inflator is simplified from previous systems and includes high ambient- temperature compensation to assure proper inflation under all climate conditions. The air bag module mounts in an opening molded into the instrument panel right trim panel. A "chute," which is vibration- welded to the trim panel, guides air bag deployment. The air bag module is covered by a door of TPO plastic. The door has a living hinge attached to the chute and break- away latches that rupture during deployment. An SRS (Supplemental Restraint System) logo is molded into the outer surface of the door. The air bag module, a steel housing containing the air bag and inflator, is attached to the chute and to structural supports under the instrument panel.

Both air bags are constructed of porous nylon mesh that allows rapid dispersion of inflating gas inside the air bags and minimizes smoke and particulates outside the bags. This porous fabric also permits a trimmer steering wheel housing than neoprene- coated material because it takes up less storage space. The air bags also include vent openings for proper post- deployment deflation.


Impact sensors are located at the outboard ends of the radiator closure panel for early detection of an impact. They are inertia- type switches that close when they experience a force indicative of a significant impact. The self- contained airbag diagnostic module is mounted on the center tunnel under the center console between the parking brake and the transmission shifter. It deploys the air bag' monitors the system for malfunctions and includes a "safing'' sensor, which is also an inertia- type switch.

To prevent inadvertent actuation, the safing sensor and at least one forward sensor must be closed simultaneously to deploy the air bags. The diagnostic module mounting bracket is rigid to deliver a strong indication of an impact to the safing sensor. To assure deployment if the electrical system fails, power to trigger the air bags is stored in dual capacitors rather than being fed directly from the car's electrical system. Both air bags deploy simultaneously during a frontal impact. The diagnostic module turns on the AIR BAG warning light in the event of a system malfunction and stores fault codes for access by a diagnostic scan tool through the central data link connector.



A welded structure of tubing and stampings that supports the molded polypropylene instrument provides controlled deflection to absorb impact energy. Left and right trim panels, the upper portions of the panel facing the driver and passenger, are molded from polycarbonate- ABS ''alloy'' that provides protection against head injury by deforming on impact. The steering column cover and glove compartment door function as knee blockers. Steel brackets supporting them deflect on impact to restrain the occupant's lower extremities against excessive forward motion without excessive force. Both column cover and glove compartment door have steel liners. High- density energy absorbing foam is added behind the steering column cover. Polypropylene material for both column cover and the glove compartment door is compounded with rubber to make it deform without breaking during impact. To maintain continuity across the lower section of the panel during impact, the glove compartment door overlaps the opening in the instrument panel and its latch completely surrounds the striker.


All outboard seating positions have selfadjusting low- tension three- point Unibelt active restraints. The center rear position has a manually adjustable lap belt.

Unibelts on four- door models have manually adjustable turning loops--the upper anchorage for the shoulder belt. A comfortable shoulder belt position is more assured with the adjustment feature than with a fixed turning loop. There are six turning loop positions spaced 0.78 in. (20 mm) apart. A short Iever on the turning loop is pushed up or pulled down for adjustment. The end of the lever has molded arrows to show the user how to make adjustments. The adjuster slides in a concealed track on the door lock pillar and automatically locks in place after it has been moved.

For easy belt release, the entire end of the buckle is the release button. The belts are also easy to put on because the concave shape of the release button guides the latch plate into its slot. Buckling effort is low and operation is smooth.

The structural rear shelf panel includes provision for mounting child seat tether anchors.

The outboard lap and shoulder belt assemblies include free- running cinching latch plates. This allows the lap section to be made snug for comfort and security when driving on bumpy surfaces or for retaining a child seat. The free- running feature of the latch plate assures that each belt will retract fully when not in use, sliding through the latch plate as it reaches the turning loop on the door lock pillar.

Low tension Unibelt retractors without tension relievers provide comfort with assurance that the belts are properly positioned when needed. Vehicle- sensitive retractors are standard. They lock only as the result of impact or extremely hard braking. Otherwise they allow upper body movement.

Active front seat restraint system buckles attach to the seat frame rather than the floor. This assures that the buckles are easy to find because they always have the same relation to the cushion, regardless of seat adjustment. This also minimizes possible occupant discomfort associated with adjusting the seat with the belt on.


Other features

  • The steering column mountings are designed to reduce loads experienced by the driver during a crash. Molded plastic capsules at the upper column mounts on the instrument panel structure release at a carefully controlled load. Lower mounting brackets, for which a patent is pending, deform under load to allow forward movement of the column. A proprietary column- to- steering- gear coupling also separates under load, allowing the column to move forward.
  • A child safety seat that is integral with the rear seat back will be optional on all models, replacing the folding back on Highline and Sport models. It is concealed in the center of the rear seat back. When open, it will support and safely restrain children from 20 to 66 pounds (9 to 30 kg) or those whose shoulder height is below the height of the integral shoulder belt. The seat has two shoulder belt heights to accommodate children of different sizes. Children too large for the child seat may safely use the adult restraint system. The central mounting position reduces the possibility of injury if the car is struck from the side. (Webmaster note: As the owner of one of these vehicles, I can tell you that the integral child seat is not only far safer than an aftermarket seat, but also far easier to use. It's just a wonderful invention, and it's terrific to have it on something other than a minivan.)
  • Rear door latches with manual and power locks include a child guard feature to prevent opening the doors from inside. The inside door handle is enabled or disabled by moving a lever that extends through the shut face of each door.
  • Neon's body structure is adept at meeting all impact resistance requirements. In frontal impacts, the passenger compartment retains its integrity. The structure minimizes intrusion and other movement of interior components relative to the passengers' allowing the active and passive restraint systems to perform their functions unimpeded.
  • Tubular, high strength steel beams welded inside each door contribute to passenger protection in side impacts. One beam is installed in each front door and two in each rear door. An interlock between the shut face of the rear door and the body side aperture helps maintain structural integrity in a side impact. The beams are aided by blocks of high- density foam in the lower corners of the front doors.
  • The fuel tank is under the seat, forward of the rear suspension for protection against rear end impact damage. The fuel filler tube is joined to the tank by a rubber hose to maintain system integrity in an impact. The fuel filler tube and cap break away from the body during an impact, allowing the closed tube to remain intact.
  • The VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) plate, which is located on the top of the instrument panel, is parallel to the side of the car for easy reading from outside the car.

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