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Q: Airbag warning light is on, are the airbags broken?

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I have a problem with the airbag in my 2008 Subaru Outback. The problem is that I have no idea if the airbag is functioning or not. The airbag light, meant to indicate when the airbag is not working, comes on all the time and I have had it inspected and reset only to have it light up in a few hundred miles. At 100,000 miles, so I’ve had this issue for a while. I need to know if this issue is electrical or the actual airbag is non-functional before I shell out cash for the repair! How do I diagnose it properly?

This concern could be related to a number of different areas of the Supplemental Restraint System (SRS). The weight sensor under the seat may not be reading a correct value. There could be an open or short somewhere in the SRS wiring harness. The seatbelt pretensioner or one of the crash sensors could have failed. If the airbag light is illuminated, a local mechanic (like those with YourMechanic) can diagnose the problem by scanning the SRS modules for codes. Per Subaru Tech Tip 0811-03, there is a procedure outlined in the owner’s manual for setting the seats so that the SRS system functions properly.

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