Car Maintenance and Repair

How to Reset Your Airbag Light: Easy Steps

By L&D Solutions - March 28th, 2024

Airbag Light is On in the dash

Understanding the Airbag Light

Before delving into the process of resetting your airbag light, it's important to understand what the airbag light indicates. The airbag light, also known as the Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) light, is a warning indicator found on your vehicle’s dashboard. When all is well, this light will briefly illuminate when you start your car to show that the system is being tested. However, if the light stays on, flashes, or comes on while driving, it may indicate a problem with your vehicle's airbags or components within the SRS.

When to Reset the Airbag Light

It's crucial to address the underlying issue before attempting to reset the airbag light. Sometimes the light may come on due to a minor glitch or after routine maintenance like after disconnecting the battery or changing a car seat. If the airbag light persists without a diagnosed fault, or after having resolved the issue, you may proceed to reset it. However, if you are unsure about the cause, consult a professional mechanic to ensure your safety on the road.

The DIY Resetting Process

STEP 1: Check the Passenger Airbag Switch Ensure the passenger airbag switch is turned on if there is one. This is relevant if your car allows you to disable the airbag when installing a child seat.

STEP 2: Inspect All Seat Belts An engaged seat belt can sometimes cause the sensor to trigger the airbag light. Make sure all seat belts are properly clicked in and there are no obstructions.

STEP 3: Turn the Ignition On and Off Putting the ignition in the 'on' position and then 'off' several times in quick succession can sometimes reset the airbag sensor. However, this isn't guaranteed to work for all vehicles.

Using an OBD2 Scanner

If the manual process doesn't help, then using an On-Board Diagnostics (OBD2) scanner is the next step.

STEP 1: Locate the OBD2 Port Find your car’s OBD2 port usually located under the dashboard on the driver’s side.

STEP 2: Connect the Scanner Plug in the OBD2 scanner into the port and turn on the ignition to the "on" position with the engine off.

STEP 3: Read and Clear Codes Allow the scanner to read the car’s computer. Any present error codes should appear. After noting these down (for potential further investigation or repair), you may use the scanner to clear the codes.

Seek Professional Assistance

If the airbag light doesn’t reset or indicates a more serious issue, do not ignore it. Airbags are critical safety features, and any malfunction needs to be addressed by a qualified technician. Take your vehicle to a certified mechanic who can perform a diagnostic test, identify any problems with the airbag system, and reset the light correctly.

Preventative Measures

Prevention is better than cure. To avoid having to go through the resetting process, regularly inspect your airbag system.

Look for symptoms like:

  • The light not coming on at all at startup
  • The light staying on continuously
  • Dim or flickering light

Your car's airbag system is a crucial element of your vehicle's safety mechanism. If you manage to reset the light but it comes on again, or if you're not comfortable handling the resetting on your own, please seek professional help promptly. Safety should never be taken for granted. Remember, dealing with airbags can be risky and should ideally be left to the experts. Your life and the lives of your passengers may depend on a fully-functional airbag system.