airbag symbol warning light

Is it safe to drive with the Airbag Light on?

In Airbag by Josh S2 Comments

airbag lightYou are starting your car and suddenly the Airbag Light appears on your instrument cluster.

You are wondering if you can continue to drive your car, but what will happen if you are getting into an accident with the airbag light on?

In this article, you will get the answer to that and we will discuss a bit of how an airbag works and learn if you can fix it yourself at home or you have to let a mechanic repair it.


Will the Airbags work when the airbag light is on?

It is not safe to drive with the airbag light on. When the light is on, it means that there is a problem with the airbag system. When there is a problem with the system, it will not deploy the airbags at all in an accident. It is always recommended to repair the problem as soon as possible. If your airbags are not functional in an accident, it may cause death or serious injuries.

When your Airbag light appears on your instrument cluster, it means that there is an error in your airbag system. It could everything from a damaged airbag, broken wires, bad connections or a broken control unit. To find the problem the easiest way is to check the trouble code memory with an OBD2 scanner.

If you have an error in your airbag control unit, your airbag will not work in a collision. When an error occurs, the airbag control unit is shutting the whole function for your own safety. It is because the airbag system is really sensitive. It is because you do not really want the airbags to blow in your face for a false alarm because of a broken wire or a bad connection. A false alarm airbag explosion may cause serious injuries to you if there is not an accident.

It will not damage any further parts in the airbag system or do any other damages to your car, but it can for sure do serious damages to you!


How does the airbag know when an accident occurs?

Your airbag system contains a control unit, several sensors and several airbags. You do normally have crash sensors in the front and the sides of the car, some vehicles have more than others. When a crash sensor is triggered it is sending the signal to the airbag control unit.

The airbag control unit is then sending a signal to the airbags inside your car, and telling them that there is an accident and they get triggered and explode. All of this happens in milliseconds, pretty impressive right?


What is the most common problem if my airbag light is on?

The most common problem if your airbag is on, is bad connections. The airbag control unit are having very small tolerances and a bad connection will trigger the airbag light and it will shut off the system. Usually, the airbag control unit is having a tolerance of 3-5 ohms of an airbag, if you have a bit of corrosion in a connection you will get over 5 ohms and the light is triggered.

The most common problem is the plug connector under any of the front seats. The plug is moving slightly if you are pushing the seat back and forward often and it will cause bad connections. Usually, it is enough to spray a bit of electric cleaner in the plug and plug it back.

But you should always read the trouble code memory with an OBD2 DTC reader when your airbag light occurs. With airbag systems, you will often get a very specific code


Is it safe to work with the airbag system at home?

As long as the airbag light is ON and there is an error code stored, the airbags will not blow in your face. But you should always remove the battery connection when you are working with your airbag just in case. You should always be very careful when you are working with your airbag system repairs.

You should always do the recommended repairs from you repair manuals. You do not want to make bad solutions, it could eventually trigger the airbag when you are out driving and you do not want it. If you are a bit familiar with car electrics you can fix it yourself if you do it with caution.


Will my airbag/SRS light disappear by itself when I’ve fixed the problem?

No, the airbag control system is designed like that you have to erase the trouble code manually before the airbag light will go away. It is because of a safety purpose like I wrote before. To erase the trouble code you have to use an OBD2 scanner. You have to use an OBD2 scanner that can search through the airbag system on your car. The most cheaper OBD2 scanners will only read the engine control unit and you have to get a more expensive scanner that is compatible with your vehicle if you want to do it yourself at home. You could also let a mechanic remove the trouble code, it will usually just take 1 minute or two.



  • When you Airbag light is ON – Your airbag function will not work.
  • The airbag control unit often triggers an error code because of bad connections
  • A common cause is a bad connection in the plug under your front seats.
  • You can repair it yourself if you are familiar with car electronics and you are really careful and read the repair manuals.
  • Always remove the battery when you are working with your airbag system, and make good repairs after your repair manual recommendations
  • You have to erase the trouble codes after any repairs for the light to go off.


If you have any other questions about how the airbag system works or how you can repair it, you can comment down below and I will answer your questions as fast as possible. If you have any other car questions you can ask them for free at our homepage.

If you want to find more dashboard signs, you can check out the article Dashboard Warning Lights.

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    1. Author

      @Yohanes negash If the “Airbag Off” light is on, check on the passenger side if there is a switch to turn the airbag on and off on the passenger side.

      Else, you have to read the trouble codes from the airbag control unit to locate the problem.

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