Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: What do I do if the passenger airbag indicator light is not responding properly to passengers in the front seat?

asked by on

What do I do if the passenger airbag indicator light is not responding properly to passengers in the front seat?

Sometimes, the sensors in the vehicle, that can tell whether the person riding in the passenger seat is an adult or an infant in a car seat, do not work properly. Sometimes these sensors can’t tell when there is anyone sitting in the passenger seat at all. If This happens, don’t worry. This is a simple problem to solve! Here’s how:

  • If a car seat meant to hold a small child is installed in the front passenger seat, the sensors in the seat should communicate this to the truck’s computer and the truck will not activate the airbags. The passenger airbag indicator light, located above the windshield, in front of the mirror, should read “Off”. If this light instead reads “On”, here’s what you can do:

  • One reason this may be happening involves the carseat itself. If the angle of the seat cushion and seatback is too narrow, the seatback will push the car seat into the cushion. Reclining the seat slightly may alleviate the problem.

  • If this doesn’t work, the vehicle should be turned off and the car seat removed. Re-install the car seat, being careful to make sure the seat isn’t wedged against the seat cushion. If the light is still in the “On” position after this, the truck may need to be serviced. It is not safe to carry a child in a car seat if the airbag is active.

  • If the passenger airbag indicator light is in the “Off” position when there is an adult seated in the passenger seat, then there are a few ways to get it to activate:

  • Make sure nothing is jammed into the seat (sweatshirt, blanket, etc.) or seat belt buckle.

  • If the light is still in the “Off” position, then turn the vehicle off and back on again with the passenger outside of the vehicle. When they once again take their seat, make sure the seatback is at a reasonable angle and that they are sitting with their feet on the floor. If this does not yield results, the truck may need servicing.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. What do I do if the passenger airbag indicator light is not responding properly to passengers in the front seat?

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: How do I fold the side mirrors on a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze?

The side mirrors can fold into the vehicle, which can help prevent damage to your vehicle. The side mirrors can only be folded in manually. To do so, pull the mirrors in towards the vehicle until they run parallel with...

Q: How do the side air bags work?

In addition to front air bags, your Accord has side air bags designed to inflate during a moderate or severe impact. Sensors detect the impact and calculate the force, sending that information to the car’s computer. Only one...

Q: Why are all my dashboard lights on? - 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier

GM has had many issues with their digital dashboards, and this sounds like one more. Disconnecting the battery for a few minutes, then re-connecting it will give you a reset. More often, a "rebuild" or refurbishment of the digital dash...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...