Why Is My Airbag Light On/Flashing?

Having yet another problem with your car doesn’t really make your day. You’re all ready for work, you’re in your car, and your day starts with a warning symbol flashing in front of you. After a close-up, you determine that your airbag light is flashing.

Well, you can either ignore it — like most people do — or do something about it — as you should. When your car is informing you there’s something wrong, you shouldn’t just turn a blind eye and simply continue driving.

If you decide to continue driving — which you definitely shouldn’t — you’ll be bringing yourself and people around you in danger. Here’s everything you need to know about airbag lights.

Flashing airbag light on a dashboard.

Reasons Why Your Airbag Light Is On or Flashing

Perhaps you managed to solve the annoying airbag light problem once, but that method doesn’t seem to be working now. If that’s the case, you should know there are several reasons why your light may be on or flashing.

Normally, a car owner would just start pressing random buttons to try and find the switch, but that’s definitely not something you should do. For starters, you should understand why is your airbag light activated.

Usually, it’s one of the three causes that can make your light to go on:

  • Faulty control module
  • Low battery
  • Worn-out spring

Faulty Control Module

Chances are your vehicle is having problems with wiring. Airbag systems are quite sensitive for obvious reasons — they need to activate at the right moment and save your life.

For that reason, any problem with your control module may turn your airbag light on. So, if there’s any issue with the wires inside your control module, such as corrosion or a bad connection, the light will come on.

Even though you might have some knowledge on the subject, my advice is not to try and fix this by yourself. Problems with control modules are a job for your mechanic.

Low Battery

Another common reason why your airbag light may be on is a low battery. As I mentioned, the airbag sensors are sensitive. So, the light will turn on even if your battery is drained.

Unlike with the previous problem, you can try to fix this one by yourself. To solve it, you should just fully recharge the battery. If your battery was the only problem, the light should go off once you recharge it.

Worn-Out Spring

There’s a connection between your seat and the airbag. In case that spring gets worn out, your car will send you a signal — the airbag light will go on.

In a situation where you’re dealing with a worn-out spring, all you can do is take your car to a mechanic. A professional will replace the fray parts which, in turn, will make the airbag light go off.

NOTE: If you check your car’s manual, perhaps you’ll be able to find more information. For some brands, there’s a difference between a light that’s simply on and a blinking one.

Is It Safe to Drive With the Airbag Light On or Flashing?

The answer to this question is a definite no. I sincerely advise you to visit your mechanic the moment you see that the signal is on.

When your airbag light comes on, it means there’s a problem with the airbag system. So, in case of an accident, you won’t be properly protected. No matter how much you might need your car at the moment, you should try to find another means of transport.

Should You Try to Fix the Problem at Home?

Well, the answer depends on your problem. If the issue comes from a faulty system or a problem with the spring, you shouldn’t treat it as a DIY project.

However, you can try to make the light disappear by fully recharging your car battery. This problem has an easy fix and it’s safe to do at home.

How to Reset the Airbag Light

In a situation when only the battery was the problem — and your mechanic has confirmed that — and the light still won’t go off, you can reset it. The following method should work on most cars although I can’t guarantee your success.

For starters, you should turn on your car. As you do, you’ll be able to see the airbag lights — they should stay on for about seven seconds. The secret lies in a fast reaction; you need to turn the ignition switch off a second after the airbag lights goes away. You’re still not done — after three seconds, you need to turn the ignition switch on again.

If this process doesn’t work the first time, you can repeat the routine for about three times. In case everything’s in order with your airbag system, the light should go off.

Other FAQs Regarding Airbag Lights

Will Your Airbag Deploy If the Light Is On?

Although the sensors are delicate, the airbags won’t simply blow up in your face without a reason. You can work on your car and clean it, but I urge you not to drive it.

In case you’re in an accident, there’s a good chance that your airbags won’t deploy if something is wrong with the system. Regardless of the cause of the accident, you’ll be in greater danger than usual.

You may be annoyed when the airbag light comes on, but it sends a straightforward message. Something is wrong with the system and you should take care of it.

Will Your Airbag Light Go Off When You Fix the Problem?

Once again, the answer to this question varies — it depends on your car’s problem. As I mentioned earlier, if the only problem you’re having is a drained battery, your light should go off once you charge it. However, that’s not always the case.

Most car owners try to find an easy fix and simply tamper with the system. This isn’t something you should do. Even if you make the light go off by a random action, you still have a problem.

Alarmingly, turning off the light by accident causes an even bigger issue. As a matter of fact, you’ll be in greater danger because you found a shortcut to solving your problem. Your signal will shut down and there will be nothing to remind you that your airbags may not be working.

The only proper way to turn the airbag light off is to consult a professional. Let your mechanic take a good look at your car, fix the problem, and turn the light off.

In Conclusion

What many car owners tend to overlook is the fact that vehicles require maintenance. You can’t simply expect that your car will be in its perfect state forever. For your car to function properly, you need to take proper care of it.

Somehow, car owners react better when they need to change oil for example. The reasoning behind it is simple — a car simply won’t work without it. You should treat every problem this way. If you respond to every issue immediately, your car will have a long life.

When you make a habit out of taking proper care of your car, you won’t experience it as an obligation.



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