If you want to know what is it that can prevent injuries even when your car badly crashes then the answer is Airbag. It takes only 0.3 seconds to fully inflate when your car gets into a collision and cushions your head and neck against the vehicle’s surfaces to protect you.
However, there are several causes of airbag warning lights coming on but the fatal part is that the airbag will not deploy when you will need it if this warning light stays on.
You might have a misconception that the airbag warning light only turns on when the safety belt is not fastened properly but technically you may be unaware that there are many other situations when the airbag light keeps coming on.
If you ignore and do not address this issue and unfortunately your car is in a collision, then you may have life-changing injuries or even cause death.
However, an airbag is simply a nylon bag that is inflated with either nitrogen or argon gas, but it has proved itself as a life-saver, reduced driver fatalities by 29%.
Let’s have a little deeper understanding about airbag and airbag warning lights!
What Does the Airbag Warning Light Look Like
The airbag warning light that appears on the vehicle’s dashboard looks like a side pose of a person sitting in a car, wearing the seat belt and the inflated airbag in front of the person. There is nothing to worry about if the airbag warning light lits up when you start the engine and then immediately goes off. The issue is only when if it keeps coming on.
In some vehicles, this warning light may appear as an illuminating Word AIRBAG or SRS (supplemental restraint system) on the dashboard.
What Does Airbag Warning Light Mean
If you see an illuminating airbag warning light on your dashboard, it means your airbags are damaged or deactivated and will not deploy if your vehicle gets into a crash. The problem could be either in any of the sensors attached, seatbelt, wiring, or the airbag itself.
Basically, when your car crashes and hit the airbag sensor then this sensor sends impact information to the airbag controller and this controller determines the severity of the collision is worth deploying airbag then it triggers the deployment of the airbags which provide cushioning around the neck and head to protect you from getting injured. The airbag warning light is an indication to tell you whether the airbag will keep you safe on the road or not.
If your car’s any of the airbags has already deployed then it is necessary to get it replaced along with the sensor resetting.
9 Reasons Why Your Airbag Warning Light on
Why is my Airbag Light on? Have you ever asked this question from your mechanic? If not, then let us answer this question.
When it comes to airbags, there are a number of parts and components that can prevent the airbag from deploying and these parts and components are indirectly responsible for causing the airbag warning light to turn on.
#1 – If you have a malfunctioning seatbelt Pretensioner
In many modern cars, both airbag and seatbelt are the part of the Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) that reduce the risk of injury if in case you get into an accident. Being part of the same system, if any of the seatbelt pre-tensioners doesn’t work properly which actually does the job of keeping you firmly into the seat, the airbag warning light turns on.
But to find out which seatbelt pre-tensioner is faulty, you will need a code reader which will read the stored code and let you know which seatbelt needs replacement.
#2 – If the crash sensors have been triggered
If you’ve got into a minor accident where your crash sensors were triggered but not to the point that they can deploy airbags, this could be one of the reasons for the Airbag Warning Light to come on. If the triggered crash sensor is replaced or reset, then the warning light will go off.
#3 – If the airbag is disabled
This is the most common reason why is my airbag light on. If the airbag is disabled for any reason whether the crash sensor has deactivated it due to a fault in it or the mechanic has made an error with sensor settings while working on your car, the airbag light will light up.
#4 – If you have a damaged clock spring
The clock spring inside the steering wheel is a cord that supplies power to the components like stereo control and airbag. If this spring gets damaged, then you may see an illuminating airbag warning light. To ensure whether the fault is in the clock spring, check stereo control and horn, if they too stop working, it means the clock spring is the reason for the airbag warning light which needs to be replaced immediately.
#5 – If there is a problem with the wiring
Usually, the wiring setup is hidden underneath the car’s seat either under the driver’s seat or the passengers’ seat, if the wiring is damaged because you roughly drag something under the seat or something got tangled that damaged the wire. Whatever is the reason for the damage, it becomes one of the Causes of airbag lights coming on as the damaged wire would affect the computer system and it will probably function incorrectly.
#6 – If your vehicle’s ECU has failed
Among the all reasons for Airbag Warning Light, the ECU (Electronic Control Unit) failure is one that rarely happens. The ECU system is the main unit that is entirely responsible for activating the airbag, it receives signals from airbag crash sensors and activates the airbag to fully deploy when your sensors sense the impact of the collision. If ECU has failed, the airbag warning light will come on.
#7 – If Collision Sensors are Corroded
The crash sensors may get corroded if they come into contact of water. The corroded sensors will not work properly and this may cause an airbag warning light to stay on. In such a case, sensor replacement is the only solution and this is not the DIY job, you will need to get it repaired from an experienced mechanic because working with such systems requires thorough know-how.
#8 – If Control Module is wet or corroded
This is not only for the sensors, the whole control module can get corroded if it is exposed to water. Because the control module is located underneath the seat, so it is easy to come into contact with water and a corroded control module will malfunction which will cause Airbag Light to Keeps Coming on.
#9 – If your Airbag Backup Battery is drained
If your car’s battery has drained then there are chances that it might have depleted the airbag backup battery and due to that, the airbag is not getting the power it needs to get activated. It can cause the airbag warning to turn on. Most of the time, the warning light goes off when the backup battery is fully charged but if it doesn’t happen, you will need to recharge the airbag backup battery along with a sensor reset.
What To Do When Airbag Warning Light Comes on
If you notice the airbag light is on, do not drive at all as it could be dangerous in the event of an accident. Take your car to a professional mechanic who will run a diagnostic on ECU where error codes are stored and find out the real cause of the problem. The mechanic will make required adjustments such as resetting the sensor, replacing the clock spring, or fixing the damaged wire. When the issue is resolved and the airbag functions properly, you can continue driving your car.
We hope you have understood how crucial this airbag is for keeping you safe on the road. But one thing remembers that do not try to play or fix airbag issues on your own. The airbag contains explosive gases so if you take the airbag unit apart, it can explode and could kill you.
Practically, if you get in an accident, the airbag may deploy or may not deploy when an airbag warning comes on. The warning light is an indication that there is some fault with the airbag system. It could be possible that front airbag deploys and side airbags do not deploy or it is also possible that side airbags deploy and the front one doesn’t.