Have you ever wondered why the airbag indicator light on your vehicle dashboard is on? There are several reasons this could happen, and contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t always relate to being in an accident. It will generally light up when you start your car but then turn off shortly after. However, getting it looked into quickly is essential if it stays on.
Several options exist for turning off your airbag warning light, ranging from resetting it to outright replacing the module. Before you worry about a potentially costly repair job, let’s dive a little deeper into how to turn off airbag light and other airbag reset tips.
When Was the Airbag First Developed?
Before getting into why your light turns on and how to turn it off, it is essential to understand the engineering behind the airbag.
The technology behind airbags has come a long way since they were first introduced in the 1950s. Today, different airbags are designed to protect vehicle drivers and their passengers in different ways. For example, some airbags are designed to protect heads and necks, while others are designed to protect their chests and hips.
The history of airbags in vehicles dates back to the early 1950s when a doctor and an engineer collaborated on a design for an inflatable restraining device that could be mounted on the steering wheel of a car. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that airbags began to be widely used in vehicles. In 1971, Mercedes-Benz became the first automaker to offer airbags as an option in its vehicles, and by the mid-1980s, airbags had become standard equipment in many cars and trucks.
Today, airbags are required by law in all new passenger vehicles sold in the United States. Thanks to their life-saving ability, airbags have significantly impacted highway safety.
How Do Airbags Work?
Modern-day airbag deployment systems are very complicated. It involves many sensors, a controller, an igniter, and an airbag. The sensors detect a crash and send a signal to the controller, determining how severe the impact is and whether or not to deploy the airbags. The igniter then releases a chemical reaction that fills the airbags with gas. Once the bag is full of gas, the airbag deployment pushes outward on whatever is in its way – usually the driver or passenger.
Airbags typically deploy within milliseconds of a crash happening. This happens so fast that most people don’t even realize they’ve been in an accident until they see the deployed airbag.
One potential problem with airbags is that they can deploy unexpectedly, even in minor collisions. This can cause injuries to the occupants of the car. Another potential problem is when airbags deploy too much force, causing severe injuries or even death.
Whatever the case, the airbag warning light on your dashboard will most certainly light up after an accident, even after just a minor fender bender where the need for repair work is minimal or non-existent.
How to Turn Off the Airbag Light
There are several simple steps you can take to attempt to turn off your airbag light:
Turn Your Vehicle Off and On
The first step is as easy as turning your vehicle on and off. In this approach, you would start your car, wait for your airbag sensor to come on and off (usually 7 seconds), then immediately turn your car off again. Once the vehicle is off, wait approximately 3 to 5 seconds before starting it again. Repeating this sequence is sometimes enough to turn your airbag light off entirely.
Take Your Vehicle For a Test Drive
If this fails, you may need to take your vehicle for a test drive. If your airbag light seems to glitch, it may require some power from a short drive to reset it. You’ll know if this works if your indicator light stays off on your next drive.
Check the Passenger Seat
Another worthwhile place to begin is in your passenger seat. Is there anything heavy on the seat that may trip the airbag sensor? Passenger seat sensors can be sensitive. It may seem an obvious solution, but if you have a box or even a heavy purse stored on the seat top, it may be worth moving to the backseat or trunk to see if this solves your problem.
Your safety computer system is also designed to detect seat belt functionality. Check to see if your seatbelt fastening system is working correctly. Did some mischievous child put a coin in the fastener? If yes, this could block the seat belt sensor and turn on your indicator light.
Fix or Replace a Broken Clock Spring
Did you know that a broken or damaged clock spring can cause the airbag light to falsely turn on? In fact, it’s one of the most common reasons behind this irritating occurrence. Also known as a coil assembly, contact reel, spiral cable, or cable reel assembly, replacing this component may immediately turn off the airbag light.
Working with a trusted professional is essential if you think you need to reset your airbag control module and doubt your capabilities. Your vehicle’s airbag system is a complex technology with many parts that work together to keep you safe. The consequences of tinkering with it are too significant to risk if you’re not confident.
Final Thoughts: How to Turn Off the Airbag Light & Other Airbag Reset Tips
To summarize, your airbag indicator light can appear for many reasons, from the most prominent cases where your airbag is deployed to the less apparent causes, including faulty wiring or an obstruction in your seat belt buckle. Whether your airbag control module needs resetting or your seat belts need repairing, Safety Restore is the world’s leader in post-accident restorations. Don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our professionals today.