What Does the Airbag Warning Light Mean?

What Does the Airbag Warning Light Mean? - main image

Sometimes called the Supplemental Restraint System (SRS), the airbag system in your car is designed to inflate within fractions of a second to provide a cushion in the event of a collision. The airbags use sensors in the seat belts and the seats themselves to determine whether or not the airbag should be deployed. This way, if no one is in the passenger seat, the airbag won’t deploy unnecessarily.

What the airbag warning light means

Every time the engine is started, the computer does a quick check on the system to make sure everything is working as intended. When you start your car, the airbag warning light will turn on for a few seconds and should turn off automatically if everything is okay. If the light stays on, the computer has detected an issue and will store a code to help identify the cause. Most importantly, if the light stays on, the airbag system is disabled to try and prevent the airbags from deploying randomly. Some common issues include a malfunctioning seat belt switch or seat sensor. On older vehicles, it is common for the clockspring in the steering wheel to wear out preventing the computer from telling the airbag to deploy.

What to do when the airbag warning light is on

Check your seatbelts for any debris as that can prevent the switch from moving. Most likely the issue won’t be that easy and you’ll need more information to find out the cause.

If the light stays on, you will need to have the car’s computer scanned for codes to determine what the issue is. Most vehicles have a reset procedure that will need to be done to turn the light off as well. Always remember that working with airbags is dangerous as they are critical to your safety and they should only be handled by trained professionals.

Is it safe to drive with the airbag warning light on?

While the vehicle can be driven, keep in mind that the airbag won’t deploy in the case of a collision which is very dangerous. Try not to drive your vehicle unless absolutely necessary or unless you are taking it to the auto shop to get it repaired.

As always, if you feel uncomfortable driving the vehicle, our certified technicians are always available to come to you and help you diagnose the issue.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

More related articles

P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed Related Trouble Codes: P2441: EVAP Vent Valve Stuck Open EVAP trouble...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...
Auto Safety Tips
Driving is more than a way to get from point A to point B. Owning and driving a car can also be a highly enjoyable experience. Whether a person is driving...

Related questions

Q: Lost Bluetooth connection

Hi. There seems to be a technical service bulletin that will cover both of these issues. I would recommend taking the car to the dealership and having them update the software on the computer and inspect both of these issues....

Q: Check engine light on & car delays

If all of these trouble codes are related to the throttle body, I would recommend having your vehicle's throttle body inspected by a qualified mechanic who is proficient at engine diagnostics. This inspection would check the throttle body for any...

Q: Airbag light and CK Suspension light on, with a small oil leak.

Your vehicle is equipped with self-leveling air suspension. When the computer in your car determines there is a fault in the self-leveling system it will turn on the check suspension light. I would ask for help from one of the...