Airbag Light Woes? Here's Your Step-by-Step Guide to Resetting It

Airbag Light Woes? Here's Your Step-by-Step Guide to Resetting It
Airbags have become an integral safety feature in modern vehicles, providing a needed additional layer of protection in unfortunate situations. However, airbag systems aren’t immune to issues.
One common problem many drivers encounter is the airbag light on the dashboard that doesn’t go away even when the airbag system is fine.
In this blog post, we will explore the reasons behind the airbag light, why it comes on, what may cause it and guide you on how to reset it. 

What is the airbag warning light?

The airbag light serves as a crucial warning indicator that something might be wrong with your vehicle's airbag system. Normally, when you turn on the ignition, your car performs a self-diagnostic routine called a control unit (CU) check. During this process, the control units are scanned to make sure it’s safe to start driving.

If the car computer detects any anomalies, they will be indicated as warning lights on the dashboard – including the airbag lights. So, if your car starts showing the airbag warning light, it means there’s something wrong with the airbag system or its components.  

What causes airbag light to come on? 

There may be several reasons that may trigger the airbag lights, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the airbags themselves are bad. Since a car’s system scans all control unit components, the warning light can mean that one of the airbag components might be malfunctioning.  
  • Faulty impact sensors – impact sensors are responsible for detecting sudden deceleration, like during a collision.
  • Faulty seat belt pretensioners – seat belt pretensioners tighten the seat belts during impact. 
  • Damaged clock spring – clock spring allows the steering wheel to maintain electrical connections while turning.  
  • Disconnected or damaged airbag control unit – the control unit detects and evaluates accidents.  
  • Recent maintenance or repairs – if some repairs were performed incorrectly, it may result with the airbag light. 
  • Corroded or disconnected airbag connectors – damaged connectors can result in failure to deploy airbags.  

How to turn off the airbag light? 

Before moving to the resetting of the airbag light, any issues relating to its illumination should be fixed. In general, once the root problems are taken care of, the warning light should turn off in around 6 seconds during a car’s next self-diagnostic check. But sometimes, it may remain lit up, worrying drivers needlessly. If the light persists, or if it was triggered by mistake, you may need to reset it manually.
Just note that before proceeding with manual resetting, you should first take care to address any underlying issues by having your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic or authorized service center.
Safety should always come first – especially when we talk about the airbag system. This also involved having a professional reset your airbag lights, but there are a couple of methods you could try if you have experience working with cars.  
Method 1 – disconnect the battery 
If you don't have access to a diagnostic tool, you can try disconnecting the car's battery. However, exercise caution as this may also reset other systems and might cause some setting presets to change. To proceed, follow these steps: 
Step 1: Turn off the ignition and remove the key. 
Step 2: Locate the car battery and find the negative terminal (-) on the it. Use a wrench to loosen and disconnect it. 
Step 3: Wait for at least 15 minutes to allow any residual power to dissipate. 
Step 4: Reconnect the negative terminal and tighten it securely. 
Step 5: Start the car and check if the airbag light has been reset. 
Method 2 – use a diagnostic tool 
Probably the most reliable and recommended method to reset the airbag light is to use a diagnostic tool or an OBD scanner. These tools can communicate with your vehicles control units, read error codes, and reset the airbag light once the issue is resolved. 
While some diagnostics tools are more advanced, packing different features, others are simple OBD2 diagnostics scanners that let users quickly scan vehicles and get fault codes.
Finding out which is the best scan tool for you can be a hassle, so you may try OBDeleven. Offered features range for different cars and models, but they’re tailored for the needs of both daily drivers and professionals, which include scanning and clearing fault codes like the ones received from the airbag light.  
To start using OBDeleven, all you’d have to do is:  
Step 1: Plug the OBDeleven device into your vehicle's OBD2 port.  
Step 2: Download the dedicated mobile app to your smartphone and sign up.  
Step 3: Connect your vehicle, run diagnostics, and wait for results. 
Step 4: Review received faults and clear them.  
Get wireless diagnostic tool

To sum up 

The airbag light is a crucial safety feature that alerts drivers to potential issues with the airbag system. Never ignore an illuminated airbag light, it could indicate a problem that may compromise your safety in the event of an accident. In the worst-case scenario, during an accident the airbags may fail to deploy altogether.  
Take the necessary steps to diagnose and address the underlying issue. If possible, use a diagnostic tool or seek the assistance of a qualified mechanic to ensure the problem is correctly identified and resolved. Remember, safety should always come first!