Why Is My Airbag Light On? Here are the Top Reasons!

Why is my airbag light on? Many drivers don’t know the reasons behind it and ignorance can mean the difference between life and death, literally! A number of reasons could work behind an illuminated airbag light. The fact that you should worry about most is it means that the bag won’t deploy at the time of an accident.

Why Is My Airbag Light on? The Top Three Reasons

The airbags are one of the prime safety features in a car. They protect you from head injuries when there is a serious accident. When the light starts flashing, you should immediately take action to resolve the problem. So, what causes airbag light to come on? Let’s find out:

Battery backup is drained

It’s the most common reason why your airbag light won’t turn off. It could happen when your car battery is low or has been drained for some reason. The problem will be gone once the battery is fully recharged. However, the battery could still be on. You have to use a scan tool and remove the soft-code error to switch it off.

What Causes Airbag Light To Come On
A low car battery could trigger the airbag light to turn on. (Photo: Alfa Workshop UK)

Worn-out airbag clock spring

The spring does the job of maintaining the continuity between the driver seat’s airbag and electrical wiring. It has some thin circuit bands that may fray or be brittle after some time, causing the bag to send a soft-code error report to the airbag control module, which ends up with a flashing light.

In case of such a problem, you have to take it to the repair shop for the replacement of the spring. Worn-out airbag clock spring not only is one of the common reasons why the airbag light turns on, but it is also one of the most expensive to repair.

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The wet or corroded control module

This is the third reason why is my airbag light on the query. In most cars, you will find the control module underneath the seat of either the driver or the front passenger. So, it will corrode if those parts are exposed to water. The module in question will generate an immediate diagnostic trouble code, which will cause the airbag indicator light to come on.

Sensor problems

The airbag system consists of many components with sensors located in different locations on the vehicle. All of them connect to the ECU to detect and notify the driver of any potential problems. Sensors may be faulty or bumped causing the airbag warning to light up. In some cases, the airbag sensor works – activating suddenly and for no apparent reason. They can also be damaged and turn on the airbag indicator light if the vehicle is exposed to water. There are also situations where the airbag control unit may be damaged. When any of these occur, replacing sensors, controllers or components can solve the problem.

Seat belt fault

Not wearing a seat belt or wearing it incorrectly can also cause the airbag light to come on. If the seat belt is fastened but the indicator light is still flashing, then there may be a problem with the buckle, or the seat belt is not securely fastened to the buckle. Another scenario is that the sensors in the lock fail and they do not correctly notify the ECU that the seat belt is fastened.

Other cases such as: changing parts causing the seat belt sensor to fail, water spilling or something stuck between the sensor and the buckle, etc. At that time, the sensor may not recognize that the seat belt is fastened and will trigger the airbag light to illuminate to give a warning.

Therefore, when the airbag indicator light is on, the occupants need to check that they have fastened their seat belts and fastened them correctly. Along with that, check and clean if there is water or objects stuck in the lock.

car seat belt
Not wearing a seat belt can also cause the airbag light to come on (Photo: pinterest.com)

Airbags are an important passive safety system in a vehicle. It helps to minimize the injury and impact of the occupants in the event of an unexpected collision. Therefore, it is not safe to drive with the airbag light on. Whenever the airbag light is on, it is a signal of a problem in the airbag system, and the driver when detected needs to be checked and corrected immediately.

How to Reset Airbag Light

Sometimes, we need to do it when working on the electrical components in the dashboard. After putting everything back together, it’s necessary to reset the light too. It’s a really simple task and won’t take more than a couple of minutes. Before starting the process, make sure that all the dash components have been plugged correctly.

How To Reset Airbag Light
Plug all the dash components correctly to reset the light. (Photo: Honda Civic Japan Blogspot)

Turn off and restart your car

The first step is to turn the ignition switch on, which will make the airbag light come on. The light will flash for exactly seven seconds. Once it is off, you have to turn off the ignition within a second. Turn the ignition on again after three seconds. Repeat this process two or three times and the airbag light will stop flashing. This is the time you’ll know that it is reset.

Restart the car and drive

The driver takes this step if the airbag light blinks or stays on for a short time only. This is like recharging a car with an energy cycle. The driver restarts the engine, then drives the vehicle for a short distance.

Note: Before restarting the vehicle, check the wiring under the driver and passenger seats. Look for loose or rusty wires in the connection plug to replace. If not, spray the connector plugs with an electronic cleaner.

Check the passenger airbag switch

The passenger seat airbag on/off button (only available in some cars) is also one of the things to check when dealing with the airbag warning light. It is possible that during use, this button is accidentally turned off, causing the airbag light to come on. The button is usually located on the dashboard on the passenger side but can also sometimes be installed in the storage compartments or the rear door.