Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. What Does the Airbag Warning Light Mean?

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

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


More related articles

How to Find the Keyless Code on a Ford Explorer or Mercury Mountaineer
Many Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers were manufactured with an option known as the Ford keyless entry keypad. Some models refer to it as SecuriCode as well. It...
P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222...
The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....

Related questions

Q: I have discovered four error codes when I diagnosed my car.

Hi there. For all of these lights to appear when going over a bump and can be cleared with a computer diagnostic tool, then there is a loose ground on the chassis of your vehicle. Check the battery cables and...

Q: Q: ABS light on

If you are having issues with your ABS system it can be related to a number of things. It is possible that the cause could be related to a faulty wheel speed sensor. The problem could also be related to...

Q: Q: My airbag light is on

Diagnostic Trouble Code B1801 means that there is an open in the driver side air bag circuit. One part that could fail and create such an open is the "clock spring assembly" beneath the driver horn button assembly. However, other...