Maintenance Tips, Tricks And Hacks For Your Vehicle

Can an Airbag Warning Light Turn Itself Off?




We all have seen an airbag warning light on our dashboard at least once while owning a certain vehicle. When an airbag light is on, there is something wrong with your airbag system.

But, can an airbag warning light turn itself off?

Key Takeaway

  • An airbag warning light can not turn itself off and has to be manually reset. When an airbag light comes on, there is something wrong with the airbag system.
  • It could be a malfunctioning airbag, a faulty sensor, or just a slight technical issue. Nevertheless, you will need to manually reset the airbag system after you fix the problem.

What Are Car Airbags?

Airbags are safety devices installed in motor vehicles, designed to provide protection to occupants during a collision or sudden deceleration.

They work by rapidly inflating with gas upon impact, creating a cushioning barrier between the occupants and the hard surfaces of the vehicle.

The purpose of airbags is to reduce the force of impact experienced by the occupants, particularly in the event of a frontal collision, and help prevent or mitigate injuries to the head, chest, and other vulnerable body parts.

Airbags are typically located in the steering wheel, dashboard, side panels, and sometimes in the seat belts.

Can an Airbag Warning Light Turn Itself Off?

Can an Airbag Warning Light Turn Itself Off

No, an airbag warning light generally cannot turn itself off. If the airbag warning light is illuminated on the dashboard, it usually indicates a fault or issue with the airbag system.

Common reasons for the light to come on include a problem with the sensors, faulty wiring, or a malfunctioning airbag module.

In some cases, the light may temporarily turn off if the vehicle is restarted, but it is likely to come back on if the underlying issue is not resolved.

It is important to have the airbag system inspected and repaired by a qualified technician to ensure that it functions properly in the event of an accident.

Why Is My Airbag Light On?

  • Seat belt sensor interference
  • Damaged wiring under the seat
  • Damaged clock spring
  • The vehicle was in an accident
  • Wrong data being sent to the ECU

Did you start your vehicle this morning and see the airbag light on? Are you worried that you will end up with a huge repair bill?

That doesn’t always have to be the case. Your airbag light could be on due to mechanical or technical error. Here are the most common reasons why your airbag light is on:

1. Seat Belt Sensor Interference

There are sensors in the seat belt catch that send a message to the computer if the seat belt is not connected properly. You might have connected your seat belt properly, but the sensor could be blocked by some debris.

In this case, the sensor will not recognize that the seat belt is on and it will send a message to the computer which will trigger the airbag warning light.

Make sure to clean the seat belt catch every time you vacuum clean your interior. Something small as a breadcrumb can trigger the airbag warning light.

2. Damaged Wiring Under Seat

Vehicles have thousands of wires running behind the door panels, dashboard, roof, and floor. Some wires are hidden well, some are not so much.

The wires from the seat belt catch go through the seat into the vehicle floor and into the vehicle computer. Sometimes we put stuff under our seats which can damage those wires. A damaged airbag wiring under the seat will most certainly trigger an airbag warning light on your dashboard.

3. Damaged Clock Spring

The clock spring houses all the wiring found in the steering wheel. One of those is the airbag wires that will trigger the steering wheel airbag once the vehicle is in an accident.

If the clock spring is damaged, the wires inside could be cut and disconnected. If an airbag wire is disconnected it will trigger an airbag warning light.

4. Vehicle Was in an Accident

Sometimes when a vehicle has been in an accident that is not serious enough to deploy the airbags, it might trigger the SRS warning light. This happens in rare cases, but it still can happen. This only requires an airbag light reset.

5. Wrong Data Being Sent To The Computer

When you start your vehicle, the main vehicle computer will run tests to see if your airbag system is working properly. If there is something wrong, the computer will illuminate an airbag warning light on your dashboard.

Sometimes, the issue could be a wrong reading. The airbag system can send wrong data to the computer which will trigger the airbag light even though the airbags are working perfectly. This will require just an airbag reset.

Signs Of a Faulty Airbag System

  • Illuminated airbag warning light on the dashboard.
  • Flashing or blinking airbag indicator.
  • Drained car battery.
  • Loose or spongy feeling in the rear of the vehicle.
  • Bouncy or rough ride.
  • Frequent running of the air compressor.
  • Sagging on one side of the vehicle.
  • The airbag light remains on long after starting the car.
  • A significant problem with the SRS system is indicated by a flashing airbag warning light.

Can I Drive Without Airbags?

Yes, it is possible to drive a vehicle without airbags. However, it is important to note that airbags are a critical safety feature in modern vehicles and are designed to provide added protection during a collision.

Driving without airbags increases the risk of injury in the event of an accident, especially during high-impact collisions.

It is strongly recommended to have a properly functioning airbag system in your vehicle to ensure maximum safety for both the driver and passengers.

If your vehicle’s airbags are not working or have been removed, it is advisable to have them repaired or replaced by a qualified technician as soon as possible says Vehicle Freak.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix The Airbag Light?

On average, the cost to fix an airbag light can range from $50 to $200 for a minor issue, while more complex repairs can cost several hundred dollars or more.

How To Reset An Airbag Light Without Tools

If everything is okay with your airbag system but the airbag light is illuminated due to a wrong reading, there is a way to reset an airbag light without tools.

1. Turn the key to ”on”

Insert the key into the ignition and turn it into the ”ON” position.

2. Wait for the airbag light

Once you turn your key to the ”ON” position, the airbag light will come on. It will stay illuminated and then will start blinking. As soon as the airbag light shuts itself off, turn the key to the ”off” position.

3. Hold the key in the ”off” position

Hold the key in the ”off” position for no more than 3 seconds.

4. Repeat the process three times

Repeat the full process three times. There is no need to do it more than three times.

5. Start your vehicle

After doing the process three times, start your vehicle and let it run. At this point, you shouldn’t have an airbag warning light on.

Is It Safe To Drive With The Airbag Light On?

Driving with the airbag light on is generally not safe because the airbags may not deploy properly or at all during an accident, which can put you and your passengers at a higher risk of injury.

The airbag light indicates a potential issue with the airbag system, and it is important to have this problem addressed promptly.

While it may be possible to drive with the airbag light on for a short period, it is not advisable in the long term.

Q: What can cause the airbag light to come on?

A: There are several possible causes for the airbag light to come on, including a faulty sensor, a problem with the airbag control module, a malfunctioning clock spring, or a problem with the passenger airbag system.

Q: Can I reset the airbag warning light myself?

A: In some cases, you may be able to reset the airbag warning light yourself by following the instructions in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. However, it is recommended to have the airbag system checked by a professional mechanic to determine the cause of the issue.

Q: Is it safe to drive with the airbag warning light on?

A: It is generally not recommended to drive with the airbag warning light on. The light indicates that there is a problem with the airbag system, and in the event of an accident, the airbags may not deploy properly or at all.

Q: Can a faulty seatbelt cause the airbag light to come on?

A: Yes, a faulty seatbelt or seatbelt sensor can cause the airbag light to come on. The airbag system is interconnected with the seatbelt system, so a malfunction in the seatbelt system can trigger the airbag warning light.

Q: What should I do if the airbag warning light comes on?

A: If the airbag warning light comes on, you should have your vehicle’s airbag system inspected by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible. They will be able to diagnose the problem and recommend the appropriate repairs.

Q: How do I reset the airbag warning light?

A: The process for resetting the airbag warning light varies depending on the make and model of your vehicle. It is best to consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual or seek the assistance of a professional mechanic.

Q: What does the airbag warning light mean?

A: The airbag warning light illuminates when there is a problem with the vehicle’s airbag system. It could indicate a malfunctioning sensor, a faulty airbag control module, or an issue with the passenger airbag system, among other things.

Q: Can I fix the airbag system myself?

A: It is not recommended to attempt to fix the airbag system yourself unless you have the necessary knowledge and experience. The airbag system is complex and requires specialized tools and training to properly diagnose and repair.

Q: What is the purpose of an airbag system in a car?

A: The airbag system is designed to provide additional protection for vehicle occupants in the event of a collision. It works in conjunction with seatbelts to help minimize the risk of injury during a crash.

In Conclusion

When it comes to airbag warning lights, the short answer is no. The light will remain on until the issue causing the warning is addressed and corrected by a certified mechanic.

However, there are some things that you can do as an owner of a car equipped with airbags to ensure that your vehicle’s safety features are working properly.

These include regularly checking the airbag lights, inspecting the warning triggers, and making sure that any necessary repairs are completed in a timely manner.



Vide Polowenski, Senior Mechanic

The information in this article is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest mechanic SOPs.

Please take the time to leave a comment if this article has helped you in any way, you need additional help, or you have a suggestion.

Latest Posts

  • Crankshaft Position Sensor Lifespan

    Crankshaft Position Sensor Lifespan

    Crankshaft Position Sensor (CPS), is a pivotal component in your vehicle’s engine. Often referred to as the engine’s heartbeat monitor, the CPS plays a crucial role in ensuring optimal engine performance and efficiency. In this blog post, we delve into the intricacies of the Crankshaft Position Sensor’s lifespan, exploring the factors that influence its durability…

    Read more

  • Crankshaft Position Sensor Fuse Location

    Crankshaft Position Sensor Fuse Location

    This tiny component plays a significant role in the smooth operation of your vehicle’s engine, influencing everything from ignition timing to fuel efficiency. In this post, we delve into the often-overlooked but crucial aspect of vehicle maintenance and repair – locating and understanding the crankshaft position sensor fuse. The crankshaft position sensor fuse in cars…

    Read more

  • How to Replace Your Crankshaft Position Sensor

    How to Replace Your Crankshaft Position Sensor

    Replacing a crankshaft position sensor might seem like a daunting task, reserved only for seasoned mechanics, but with the right guidance, it can be an achievable challenge for even the most novice of car enthusiasts. This crucial component, often hidden within the intricate labyrinth of your engine, plays a pivotal role in the smooth operation…

    Read more