How To Reset An Airbag Light (8 Simple Steps)

The airbag has the potential to save your life in the event of an accident. Once you’ve repaired the airbag system, it’s essential to reset the airbag light. This article mainly explains how to reset the SRS airbag light.

When the airbag warning light is illuminated, it indicates that there may be an issue with the airbag or seatbelt, making it potentially unsafe to drive. It’s crucial to address this problem promptly.

reset an airbag light

Among the various dashboard warning lights and signals, the airbag and engine lights require special attention, particularly the airbag light, due to their direct connection to vehicle safety.

How to reset an Airbag Light

The airbag system is one of the most important vehicle safety features. It ensures the passengers’ safety in case of an accident. Your vehicle dashboard contains an SRS airbag light that is directly connected to the airbag system. When your vehicle’s computer monitors an issue with the airbag system, it triggers the airbag light.

After fixing the airbag system-related issues, you need to reset the airbag light. Follow the below-given methods to reset the airbag light:

1) Turn the ignition on and off

Turn the ignition

Begin by turning on the ignition switch. Observe the airbag light as it illuminates, which usually occurs after 7s, and remains on until it turns off automatically. As the light turns off, turn off the ignition switch and wait for 3s.

Repeat this process several times before starting your engine. If done correctly, the airbag light of your vehicle should turn on for 7s and then turn off completely.

2) Perform a Test Drive

perform a test drive

Now, perform a test drive. Start your vehicle engine and take a brief test drive. Drive for about 6 to 12 minutes to check if the light turns off by itself.

In certain vehicles, the airbag light may turn off automatically after driving for a short period. This may be because the light is designed to remain on as the system activates, or the sensor responsible for detecting a passenger in the seat wants to cycle a few times to obtain correct readings.

3) Check the Passenger Airbag Switch

passenger airbag switch

To turn off the airbag light, it’s important to manually check the passenger seat airbag button mode. However, only a few models have this button. There is a chance that someone inadvertently switched it off, causing the airbag light to illuminate.

The passenger seat airbag button is often located on the passenger-side dashboard and can be accessed by opening the passenger door or glove box. 

4) Read the Trouble Codes  

Dealing with the airbag system is a critical task. Always use an OBD2 scanner to read the trouble codes related to the airbag system and gain insight into where you should begin troubleshooting.

scan codes using OBD2 scanner, reset airbag light

Avoid clearing the trouble codes before addressing the issue that triggered the airbag light. Instead, read the codes to understand the potential causes and proceed with the diagnostic process.

5) Check the Performance of Seat Belts

A damaged seatbelt is one of the major causes of triggering the airbag light. While driving the car, plug in each seatbelt individually to ensure it clicks into place, and then push the airbag button to release it.

Seat Belt, airbag light

If a seatbelt of your vehicle seatbelt is broken or not locking properly, this may lead your vehicle to believe the seat is unavailable, necessitating the airbag light to stay on.

6) Check the Airbag Sensor

Airbag Sensor

In most vehicles, the airbag sensor is activated when a seatbelt is locked, as the vehicle checks for the presence of an adult in the passenger seat. A bad airbag sensor may trigger the airbag light.

7) Check the Weight on the Passenger Seat

Many vehicle models are equipped with highly sensitive passenger weight sensors. The problem with these vehicle models is that simply placing a heavy container or box on the passenger seat can trigger the sensors, causing the airbag light to turn on.

Weight on Passenger Seat

To resolve this problem, remove the heavy box or container from the seat or fasten the seatbelt. If any of these actions resolve the problem, it indicates that the airbag light was triggered because of the sensor.

8) Check the Wiring

Properly inspect the electrical connectors and wiring to the airbag system. The damaged wiring or connectors may also cause to trigger the airbag light.

How to reset the airbag light without a scanner

In maximum vehicles, it’s not possible to reset the airbag light without a scanner. You should immediately stop the vehicle and fix the issues as your airbag light triggers. Fixing this issue on time is very important for the safety of the passengers.

Fortunately, in many cars, the airbag light will turn off automatically once the problem has been resolved.

However, in a few older vehicles, you may reset the airbag light without a scanner by disconnecting the vehicle battery terminals.

Inspect the wiring system under the passenger or driver seat for any loose wires or corrosion in the connector plug. Use an electronic cleaner to spray the connector plugs and then again start the engine. 

FAQ Section

Is it safe to drive with the airbag light on?

The answer is no because even though the airbags might still deploy with the light on, it would be extremely dangerous in the event of an accident.

How long does it take to reset the airbag module?

The final step would be to replace the module in your vehicle and verify the successful reset. The SRS light of your vehicle should extinguish within 6 seconds. To ensure there are no new errors or codes, you can examine the tech-stream software in your vehicle.

What happens if you pull the airbag fuse?

As you remove the fuse for the airbag control module, it disables the functionality of the airbag in your vehicle after 1 to 2 minutes. But this action won’t reset the airbag light as you might expect. If your vehicle’s computer doesn’t get a proper signal from the airbag system, it will turn on the airbag warning light.

How much does it cost to reset the airbag light?

The cost of resetting the airbag light depends on your vehicle model and the cause of the problem. The average cost to reset the airbag light is between $10 and $1100. If the problem is temporary, simply resetting the codes might be sufficient, which is usually free. However, the issue could be due to a costly faulty component like the steering angle sensor, which could set you back over $1100.

Does disconnecting the battery disable the airbag?

Yes and no. When it comes to airbag systems, large capacitors store energy even after disconnecting the battery cable. Nevertheless, this energy is typically depleted within a few minutes.

How can I bypass the airbag light?

While it is possible to bypass the airbag components or airbag light by using resistors but it is not recommended. Instead, focus on resolving the underlying issues because, in the case of a severe accident, you will likely wish that the airbag function was operational. 

Why is my airbag light not going off?

The airbag light signals a potential issue with the seatbelt or airbag. As a result, it’s generally not advisable to drive with an illuminated airbag light. If the light persists, it is recommended to drive your car towed to the dealership instead of driving it yourself.

Can I reset the airbag module?

Yes, an airbag control module can be reprogrammed and reset, except for those with hardware damage resulting from physical damage, fire, water, or other incidents. Both hard and soft codes related to accidents are saved in the airbag control module.

Can a scanner reset the airbag light?

Scanners are not capable of removing these codes, also known as crash data, which are retained following a car accident.

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