Reasons The Airbag Light Will Come On Or Flash

Under normal conditions when you start your car, the airbag light including other warning lights in your dashboard comes on and stays on for several seconds until the on-board computer runs a check and confirms there are no faults then the lights turns off one after another. So when the airbag light refuses to turn off or flashes, this is an indication that there is a problem with your car safety system. We’ll be looking at possible causes which can trigger this light to stay on and solutions.

The airbags are part of your car’s Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) and are in place to assist – or supplement – the seat belts to protect occupants in the event of a crash. They serve to keep your body from slamming into parts inside the vehicle – like the steering wheel, dashboard, or door. And by preventing your body from stopping too abruptly on impact, airbags lessen the chance of internal injuries. When used properly in conjunction with the seat belts, airbags shield you from serious injury and can help to save your life.

Reasons Why The Airbag Light Can Come On

  • Airbag Module Is Faulty. One or more of the airbags could be bad.
  • Airbag Impact Sensor Issue. If one or more impact sensors that detect a crash are defective, the light will come on.
  • Clock-Spring Is Worn Out Or Broken. The driver’s airbag located in the steering wheel needs to maintain a constant electrical connection with the rest of the system while the steering wheel is turning. This is done through a device called a “clock-spring”. If this is faulty the airbag light can come on.
  • Seat Belt Latch Is Malfunctioning. If the latch is not working properly, or it is not grounded adequately, the airbag warning light can come on.
  • Seat Belt Pretensioner Is Inop. The pretensioner contains an explosive charge to tighten the belts on impact. If this component is not working, the light will come on.
  • Passenger Seat Occupant Sensor Defective. Many vehicles are fitted with a weight sensor inside the front passenger seat that detects the presence of an occupant, telling the airbag whether or not to inflate in a crash. If this sensor is faulty it can trigger the airbag light on.
  • Prior Crash. If the vehicle was previously in a crash that may have set off the sensors but not the airbags, data stored in the Airbag Control Module could cause the light to come on.
  • Faulty Airbag Control Module. Sometimes the control module, the computer, itself malfunctions and needs to be replaced.
  • Water Damage. In the case of a flood, water intrusion inside the passenger compartment can cause damage to SRS components.
  • Damaged Wiring. If SRS wiring or connectors become damaged or corroded, the system will be compromised.
  • Dead Battery. Sometimes a low battery can cause the backup battery for the Airbag Control Module to lose power and trigger the light.

With all these potential system problems it is difficult to narrow down which could be the faulty component. That’s when a diagnostic scan tool will come handy. The diagnostic scan tool will read the trouble code(s) stored in the Airbag Control Module and then use that data to perform a series of tests to pinpoint the problem. You can contact us to perform this scan if your airbag light is coming on by following this link: I Need To Check My Airbag fill out the appointment form and a technician will contact you within 24 hours.

About Nonso Okafor

I've worked as a technical support representative in major auto centers in Nigeria for more than twenty years. I have dealt with a variety of problems in my capacity as a customer service representative and auto diagnostics expert. I'm committed to assisting people in properly maintaining their automobiles and in appreciating this magnificent innovation known as an automobile.

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