Symptoms of a Bad Airbag Sensor: Resolve the Issue at the Earliest

In a vehicle, an airbag is a great lifesaver. In case of any road accident or emergency braking, these airbags save against head injuries. Every time, an airbag fails, the sensor lets you know via the dashboard light. However, drivers often notice that the airbag sensor light blinks or illuminates unnecessarily. This happens due to a malfunctioning airbag sensor. Today, we show you the symptoms of a bad airbag sensor so you can work onto fixing the issue.

Symptoms of a Bad Airbag Sensor: Make It Go Away

The airbag sensor circuit comes to working as soon as you start the car. Get to know the different symptoms that make the airbag sensor light blink.

Exhausted Airbag Battery

The exhausted airbag battery remains as one of the major symptoms of a bad airbag sensor. The airbag battery gets down when your car’s battery is exhausted. This problem often causes the airbag sensor to blink. However, recharging the car’s battery solves the issue, and you should not see the airbag sensor light blinking again.

Faulty Airbag Clock Springs

The clock spring maintains the connection between the airbag and steering wheel. It is responsible for managing the electrical supply between these two parts. As the wiring circuit continuously retracts and expands, it wears off with time. This makes the airbag sensor light illuminate on the dashboard.

Diagnosing the problem using DIY does not come easy. Hence, it is advised to take your car to a professional and get it replaced.

car airbag clock springs
How does a faulty airbag clock spring looks in the car? (Photo Source: autocodes)

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Damaged Airbag Module

The airbag module controls the overall airbag system and hence ensures safety measures. With regular exposure to moisture, the corrosion starts forming, and short circuit happens. The short circuit disturbs the entire wiring, and hence a code is generated in the dashboard. As a solution, the module can be reprogrammed or replaced based on the severity of the situation.

You can also make use of the diagnostic tool to understand those codes or take it to the professional repairer.

Bad Seat Belt Latch

It is possible to see that airbag sensor light when the seat belt latch does not work as it should. Or if the latch does not click correctly into the place, the sensor happens.

Also, if the pretensioner malfunctions, the light does appear. The pretensioner, as its name maintains the tension to tighten or loosen the belt as per the impact. This is one of the symptoms of a bad airbag sensor. 

Getting Into the Accident

Small car accidents can make the airbags sensor to activate. Even if the airbags do not deploy or puff out, the sensor shows on the dashboard. If this is the symptom behind the light appearance then having it reset solves the issue. This kind of situation takes place when your car drives under 8 mph, and the minor bump in the front of the vehicle happens.

Locating and Resetting the Airbag Sensor

While getting to the airbag sensor, “where are airbag sensors located” always comes to mind. Well, the sensor can’t be found in the same place as the location varies as per the design of the vehicle. Hence, the best way to find an airbag sensor is to check the user manual and get to know. However, the front fascia, passenger seat area, engine, and the front bumper can be checked to find the sensor before you head to the manual.

  • The next thing is about resetting this sensor once you find it out.  Generally, the OBD2 scanner can read those codes well so you can proceed further on diagnosing the problem. However, the scanner can be reset as well by disconnecting and reconnecting the battery.
  • Get to the hood and locate the battery. There you see one positive and one negative terminal with + plus and – minus sign. Get the socket wrench and remove the negative cable by loosening the screw there.
  • Once the clamp is off, wait for a few seconds or five. Reconnect this negative terminal and tighten the screw. This process resets all the sensors in your car, and this way, the airbag sensor too should work fine.

Airbag Sensor Replacement Cost

An airbag sensor may also need the replacement if the component failure is permanent. It is recommended to take your vehicle to a professional and get it installed properly. Doing the DIY can ruin things further as there are technicalities to handle when it is about a sensor replacement. However, if you can handle the replacement yourself, it would charge you from $45 to $281. Maintenance tips always support you to recognize the issue and solve it further.

the right way to fix the airbag sensor
Fix the airbag sensor when airbag sensor goes bad (Photo Source: youtube)

The overall time would be 2 hours to get the replacement done. For the price factor, an airbag sensor can charge you anywhere from $250 to $350 when you have the professional repair; the added labor cost. The final price depends on various factors though such as the brand, model, and design of the car.

Should You Drive with the Bad Airbag Sensor?

Bad airbag sensor means the sensor light is on the dashboard blinking or illuminating. Whatever the case is, we recommend to not driving the car with a faulty sensor. If you can see the airbag light on the screen, it means the airbag is not functional. And if something happens, such as an accident, it will not open up. That is why if you prefer to drive with the airbag light on, do it on your own risk.

An OBD2 scanner can help you determine the problem or a professional care repairer. The issue can exist anywhere such as in the wiring, control unit, or the airbag itself. This malfunction makes the warning system to generate light on the dashboard.

the explosion of airbags inside the vehilce
Airbags in the car. (Photo Source: drive)


It is wise to keep a check on all the sensors on the dashboard as it ensures you a safe and comfortable ride. In the case of an airbag sensor, you can go with recognizing the symptoms or the reasons that made the warning light come on.

If you have experience with handling the technicalities of your car, get the manual, locate the car sensor, and do the replacement. Otherwise, professional help is always the best decision. We hope these symptoms of a bad airbag sensor would be of help!