What Can Cause The Airbag Light to Come on

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what can cause the airbag light to come on? Several reasons including faulty sensors could make airbag malfunction. The airbag is a very crucial and important part of the car , that is concerned about the safety of the driver and the passengers.

An airbag is a vehicle occupant-restraint system using a bag designed to inflate extremely quickly, then quickly deflate during a collision. Newer side-impact airbag modules consist of compressed-air cylinders that are triggered in the event of a side-on vehicle impact.

How Does the Airbags Work


The airbag’s deployment is controlled by sensors that detect the occurrence and severity of a crash. When the airbag controller determines that the airbag should be deployed, the system triggers an inflator unit that burns chemicals very rapidly to produce large volumes of inert gas to inflate the bag.

Read Also:- How To Turn Off Airbag Warning Light

Common cause the airbag light to come on

The primary function of the an airbag is to reduce injury by either cushioning the occupants contact with the interior of the vehicle or preventing contact completely. However, certain reasons can cause the airbag to function abnormally especially when the airbag light is on.

Here are the most common causes of airbag failure and reason why the airbag light could come on.

  • Depleted Airbag Backup Battery                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Car airbags are powered by backup batteries not the main car battery even though the backup battery depends on the main battery to stay charged. So if anything happens to the main battery then the backup battery could be affected too.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      For example, if you car battery is drained recently, this might have directly affected the airbag battery too. Usually this corrects itself once the car battery is charged fully again but n situations where the backup battery is not able to regain charge then a manual action will have to be done.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If the backup battery fails to charge itself from the main battery, it will have to be removed and charged along with a sensor reset. So the baseline is, a depleted airbag backup battery can cause the air bag light to come on.
  • Faulty Sensors                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A faulty sensor is the worst of all when it comes to air bag malfunction. Most modern days cars are equipped with several sensors for different reason ranging from oxygen intake sensor to sensors that detect tire pressure.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         The air bag too is not left out, it is equipped with a sensor that senses and tell when the air bag needs to function or not. Sensors relay signals to the airbag control unit, which analyzes the data and can orchestrate safety features like seat belt lock, automatic door locks, as well as airbag deployment.                                                                                                                                                                                          Two types of airbag sensors used in cars are electrical and mechanical. Electrical sensors vary in design but i will not go into that details in this article.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Airbag sensors can some times fail due to impact or collision when and accident occurs, this can leak to illumination of the airbag warning light. If such happens, the sensors will need to be checked and the system will need to be reset to be it back working properly.
  • Damaged Airbag Clock Spring                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The airbag clock spring serves as link between the steering wheel and other electrical accessories such as airbag safety system, radio, horn and even the cruise controls.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Another function of the airbag clock spring is serve as a link between the wiring of the vehicle and the driver-side airbag. It follows a coiling motion pattern as the steering wheel is turning.                                                                                                                                                                                                                As a result of age and usage the airbag clock spring can become worn-out and in turn loose the ability to perform its function. When it starts to malfunction, then this can cause the airbag warning light to come on.
  • Wet Airbag Module                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Just like the way modern cars are equipped with several sensors for different purpose, cars are as well equipped with several modules. Generally, the sensors are more like employees to modules in cars.                                                                                                                                                                                      The sensor senses a problem and send the problem code to the respective module it answers to. Airbag module is responsible for controlling the activities of the airbag, when to activate and when not to.

The module is located right under the driver’s seat and in some cases it would be under the passengers seat. If for any reason your vehicle has been flooded with water, the module cold get damaged along the line.

Another instance where the module could cause airbag warning light is when it is corroded. If the airbag module is corroded, the warning light is likely to be on.

Whether it’s on by mistake or through one of these common causes, your airbag warning light is there for a reason. If it comes on, you will want to get your airbag system and sensors repaired as soon as possible.

How to turn off airbag light

Airbag light comes up as a result of a fault in the airbag system, this could be as a result of either a bad sensor or a broken module. Whatever the case maybe, you should always have it in mind that if the warning light comes on there is a problem that needs to be fixed.

The problem has to be fixed for the airbag warning light to go off. Turning off airbag light is an easy task and you can easily reset the warning light using and OBD-II by following the simple guide below…

  • Park your car switch off the ignition
  • Turn the key back to “ON” position
  • Locate the OBD port under the steering wheel
  • Connect the OBD scanner to the port
  • Read the trouble code using the OBD scanner
  • Erase the code and the warning light will go off

For this to work you have to make sure that whatever the problems is has been fixed. If you do not fix the problem before resetting the warning light, the light will remain on.

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How to reset airbag light without using tool?

Now that you have know how airbag works and reasons why the airbag warning light could come up, lets see how to turn off airbag light when necessary. Remember, airbag warning light comes on as a warning that indicates that the system is not functioning properly.

No technical skills, tools is needed neither do you need to be a professional mechanic to be able to reset the light. In fact not even and OBD scanner is needed for resetting the light, all you need is the 10 steps simple guide below.

  • Park you car.
  • Switch off the ignition and remove the key.
  • Insert the key back again and turn it to “ON” position.
  • Now wait for about 5 seconds or more for the airbag light to come on.
  • Wait for the light to off by itself.
  • Immediately the light turns off.
  • Now switch off the ignition after the light goes off.
  • Repeat this process 2 or 4 times.
  • Now start the engine
  • The SRT light should come up for about 7 seconds and go off.

If you have successfully completed this steps then the waring light should have gone off by now. The airbag light has been reset.

Can i drive with airbag light on in my Toyota RAV4?

Not only in a Toyota RAV4, but in all vehicles driving with the airbag light on is not a wise decision. If the warning light is on, it is and indication of a fault in the airbag system which needs to be fixed.

When there is a problem in the airbag system then it is highly possible that the airbag will not perform it function when an accident happens. This can dead to deadly heart if head injury if an accident occurs.

Is it illegal to disconnect airbags?

It’s against federal law for a dealership or mechanic to disable or remove any part of a car’s safety system, including the airbags and the airbag indicator light. While there’s no federal law against an individual disabling their own airbags, it’s incredibly dangerous.

This article is all about the reasons that cause the airbag light to come on. If you still have something you want more explanation about, please as using the comment section.

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