Vehicle Safety 101: 5 Reasons Why an Airbag Light Is On

Owning a car gives you the primary benefit of not having to commute or walk to your destination. To maintain a car’s functionality, you have to take care of it. However, accidents may still happen no matter how careful you are. While the cost of repairs can be pretty high in an accident, you shouldn’t worry because you will be well-protected by your car’s airbags.

Airbags are a part of a car’s supplemental restraint system (SRS), and they’re also the primary source of safety and protection on the road. Airbags work by inflating as soon as you collide with a structure or another car to keep your body safe from any serious injuries. Part of the airbag system is a light sensor. If you see it blinking, you need to fix the problem because it’s a telltale sign that it may not deploy properly when needed.

Inspecting Your Airbag Light

The airbag light is situated alongside other warning lights in a car’s instrument cluster. It can either be one of the following:

  • An icon of a person sitting with a large ball in front of them represents the airbag.
  • The word “AIR BAG”
  • The letters “SRS”

While they may be presented differently depending on your car model, they all refer to the airbag light. If the light is blinking, then it may not deploy when you need it most.

Determining Why the Light is On or Flashing

There are many possible reasons why an airbag light is on or flashing when it shouldn’t be. The reasons for this are as follows:

#1 – The Clock Spring Needs Replacement

The primary function of the airbag system’s clock spring is to maintain constancy between the airbag of the driver’s seat. This allows the electrical wiring to intertwine it in and out to give a little bit of leeway to the steering wheel.

The thin circuit bands, over time, can become worn or brittle and can cause the driver’s seat’s airbag to report a soft-code error to the control module, which makes the light flash.

The clock spring dilemma isn’t something you can troubleshoot on your own because you’ll need an OBD2 scanning tool. Even if you know that your clock spring is in bad condition, it’s still recommended to bring it to a professional for replacement.

#2 – The Airbag’s Battery Backup is Depleted

This is one of the more common reasons why airbag lights are flashing. Thankfully, the problem can take care of itself when the battery is fully recharged. However, you’ll need to use a scan tool to soft-code the error from the airbag control module to remedy the problem.

#3 – Sensor Malfunction

The airbag system of today’s vehicles is made up of various components, including sensors that connect to the car’s main computer. When one or more of these sensors malfunction, the onboard computer will recognize this and illuminate the airbag light as a warning.

#4 – The Airbag Module Is Corroded

The airbag control module is typically found under the driver’s or front passenger’s seat in most vehicles today. If a car goes through high enough water levels, the control module will be exposed to moisture, which can cause corrosion.

When an airbag control module is corroded, it will generate a diagnostic trouble code that will make your airbag light start flashing.

#5 – Recent Accident

Recent accidents play a significant role in why airbag lights are on. Suppose a vehicle is involved in a previous accident and the airbags went off. In that case, the most likely reason is that the control module wasn’t appropriately fixed. This is because many airbag components are designed for one-time use only.

Even if your airbags have been replaced, the engine control module (ECM) needs to be reprogrammed to reset the airbag system. Until this has been fixed, the airbag light will keep on flashing.


An airbag system’s flashing light is not something that must be ignored because it can draw the line between life and death in a car accident. Your best course of action would be to bring your car to a professional so that the problem can be fixed, or it will remain a safety hazard for your driving experience.

Safety Restore provides top-quality services for resetting airbag modules. Every driver and their passengers must always be safe while on the road, so we offer other services such as seat belt repair and webbing replacements. Contact us today to learn more!

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