Airbags are one of the best inventions ever, as they protect us upon impact from a collision. But what happens when that airbag fails to work and risks being faulty, should that airbag be deployed?
Reasons Why Your Airbag Warning Light is On
Airbag repair isn’t a real common vehicle repair service, but from time to time, it is necessary. If you succumb to an accident or a collision, and any of your airbags are deployed, all that were deployed will need to be replaced, and all sensors on all deployed airbags will need to be reset. But what happens when you haven’t been in a collision or an accident and your airbag light won’t turn off, or you’re having other issues? You may know that your airbag light won’t turn off, from your car. Your vehicle will tell you with either a flashing or illuminating light on your computer or dashboard display. When the light is on, this means that your airbags are deactivated. This further means that your airbags will not deploy should they need to.
So, now you are presented with a serious set of circumstances that need attention ASAP. Sure, an airbag light can come on by accident and it may just be a matter of resetting the light. But if that light refuses to go off for another reason, then you may have a variety of issues that may be the cause of your airbags failing. Check out our reasons that your airbag light won’t turn off.
Bad or Faulty Sensors
Your vehicle has lots of different sensors that are connected to various components. Those sensors link directly to your vehicle’s computer system. And their job is to notify and detect the driver of any potential problems. We all know that sensors can trip or fail without reason. Because of this, the airbag lights can come on and fail to turn off. Your mechanic will need to check your sensors and reset your entire computer system.
Airbag Backup Battery is Depleted
Has your car battery endured a recent drain of power recently? Then there’s a chance that the car battery may have also depleted the backup battery powering your vehicle’s airbags. There is a chance that this malfunction may correct itself when the battery is completely recharged. But in the event that it does not correct itself, then your backup battery will need to be recharged and your car sensor(s) be reset.
Airbag Module that is Wet
If your car has experienced any type of water or flood damage, then that water may have affected your vehicle’s airbag module which is under the passenger or the driver seat. Your airbag light may have been corroded or shorted out due to the water and therefore will fail to work properly.
Airbag Clock Spring that is Damaged
Your vehicle’s airbag clock spring helps to maintain continuity between the driver-side airbag and the electrical wiring of your car. The clock spring also coils out as the steering wheel turns. Unfortunately, your clock spring can wear out over time-thus causing a weak or a bad connection and future airbag failures.
Troubleshooting an Airbag Warning Light- Getting The Help You Need
OK, now you know the possible causes of why your airbag is on. So, now let’s troubleshoot the issue of your airbag light not turning off.
Help Me Troubleshoot My Airbag Light Coming On!
Unfortunately, there is no quick or easy way to troubleshoot the issue of your airbag light coming on. Just like that cumbersome “check engine light” that comes on, your airbag light coming on and failing to go off, could be an array of reasons. And much like that “check engine light”, you should not ignore your airbag light coming on and failing to go off. With your airbag light coming on, your mechanic will more than likely perform a diagnostic test on the ECU (engine control unit), the electronic control unit or the airbag. In the event that your airbags have not discharged or become activated, and you still see that warning light on, you more than likely have a computer issue. The airbag system may have become deactivated and faulty. Or, your computer has read an error and there is no issue with the airbags.
Clearing the Airbag and the Light
Before using your airbag and making your airbag light shut off, the airbag ECU has to be cleared. If you feel that there is no issue in your car’s system, take the airbag ECU remove it and then send it to the company that does the work. They should be able to clear it for you. You can also take your car to your dealer and the mechanic there can perform the same function. Your dealer’s mechanic will also place a new airbag ECU which would turn that airbag warning light off.
Get Your Mechanic Involved
The surest way to take care of the airbag warning light coming on, is to take your car to a licensed auto mechanic. Many auto professionals these days, have training in dealing with airbag lights and issues. Once your mechanic has your car, he or she will reposition the airbag sensor and/or determine any other issues with your airbag system.
Try not to Drive
Once you see that your airbag light is on and it won’t come off, you will not have an airbag deploy should you get into an accident. You don’t want to be in such a compromising situation, so try avoid driving your car if you can. Chances are you are a safe driver, but we all know that we have to watch the drivers around us. So, wait to drive your car, till the airbag light issue is repaired by a professional.
How Much Does It Cost To Fix Airbag Light?
If you have been in an accident or a collision, then you will need to pay for airbag repair. For all drivers, having working airbags could mean the difference between life and death. In fact, working airbags are so important, that many states make it illegal to drive with faulty ones.
And when it comes to fixing that airbag light, the cost to fix the issue can range from a few hundred dollars, to several hundred dollars. Let’s look at approximate costs to fix airbag lights.
Fixing the airbag light by resetting the airbag
If your airbag light has been deactivated and fails to go off, then chances are your airbags are not open and ready to be deployed. So, this means you need to take the car to a professional ASAP. As we mentioned earlier, you don’t want to drive a car that has non-working airbags. There may be an issue with your car’s airbag system. Now is the time that your mechanic needs to look at your ECU. She or he may be able to reset the airbag. Should this be the case, prepare to spend in the ballpark of $600.
Fixing the airbag light by replacing the airbag
If your airbags are non- functional or broken from something other than being deployed, then you need to get those airbags replaced as soon as you can. You want to protect yourself, should you need them. The cost of replacing your airbag can be a few hundred dollars, depending the year, make and model of your car. Generally speaking, the cost to replace an airbag can range from $1000 to $1500.
Airbag Resetting After Accident Or Collision
If you have been in a collision or an accident and your airbags were deployed, then you need to replace those airbags. The good news for some drivers, is that airbag resetting may be included in your insurance claim. Another piece of good news is that resetting an airbag costs a lot less than replacing an airbag. Even though this is the case, you should count on your airbag resetting to cost you around $1000 per airbag. Your mechanic will have to reattach and fit the airbag in order for it to be safe, secure and workable.
You may also consider buying a new steering wheel system. This system can include an airbag, if it has not been deployed yet. Check before buying a new steering system. A steering system is sometimes cheaper than having an airbag reinstalled. To place a new steering system on a car takes less time than replacing an airbag.
Here is an additional consideration for you: if you have been in an accident or a collision that was so serious that it caused several airbags to deploy, it may not be worth your time and money to replace the airbags- due to your vehicle being totaled. In this instance, you need to weigh your options with your insurance company and your mechanic.
Whatever You Do…
Your airbag light coming on and not turning off is a serious issue. So, whatever you do, please do not drive your car with the light on. As we mentioned earlier, in some states, you cannot even drive a car with faulty airbags. This means your airbag light refusing to shut off is indeed a faulty airbag. You may be taking a short trip to the mall or to grab some takeout. In many instances, all that’s needed for a fatal accident is a “short trip”. So be safe and tend to that airbag light refusing to shut off, ASAP!