There’s no debating that flashing dashboard lights are annoying, but what is often perceived as a mere annoyance could actually be your vehicle telling you that something is wrong. You may already know which light we’re referring to — the airbag warning light.
When the airbag warning light turns on, it could be signaling a minor fault in your sensors, or it could be a far more serious issue. If you are confident enough in your auto repair skills and you want to fix the flashing light yourself, you must use extreme caution to avoid the airbag deploying in your face. An accidental deployment can cause serious injury or death. If you have any doubts about whether or not you can do this safely, take it to a mechanic you trust.
If you want to save money on parts needed to fix a broken or deployed airbag, make sure to check out everything that we offer at MyAirbags. We specialize in resetting your airbag modules, repairing your seat belts, and fixing instrument clusters. Our services can save you hundreds of dollars in parts and labor, so browse our site now to find the repair-and-return services you need to make your vehicle safe to drive.
Diagnosing the Airbag Warning Light
We should begin by discussing how the airbag system works. An airbag system consists of a few sensors, a module that interprets the signal, and an airbag that contains a small charge that allows it to deploy during an accident. These sensors can become worn and torn after time, most commonly in the passenger-side occupancy sensor and the clock spring.
If the issue is in the passenger occupancy sensor, you will need a “plug-and-play” kit to disconnect the yellow connector under the seat and wire in the bypass module for your car. Then, use a universal kit to splice into the wires — for any beginners or anyone without a wiring diagram, don’t try this at home!
The issue could also be with your vehicle’s clock spring, the electrical coupling between the steering column and the steering wheel. Is your airbag light on? Is your horn broken? If you answered “yes” to both of those questions, the issue is most likely in the clock spring.
To fix the clock spring, you will need to remove the steering wheel. Don’t worry — this is actually a very simple process that can usually be completed in less than 20 minutes. Get out your hand tools and follow these steps to fix your airbag warning light.
How to Reset the Airbag Light
Step 1: The first thing you need to do is remove the negative battery cable from the terminal and wait AT LEAST 10-15 minutes for the capacitors to discharge.
Step 2: Make sure that your wheels are straight and that your steering wheel is facing straight. Hold the center section of the wheel in place — where your airbag is located — and locate the screws. Unscrew them.
Step 3: Once the screws have been unscrewed, pull the airbag towards you and remove the connectors. Use a pick to slide the yellow clips out in order to remove the connector. You can now remove the airbag. Turn the steering wheel from left to right to expose the screws that hold the steering column trim in place.
Step 4: For this next step, you want to make sure that the steering lock is engaged in order to avoid a moving wheel. Use two pieces of painter’s tape and place them between the steering wheel and the steering column trim. This will serve as your point of reference for later when you return the steering wheel to its original position.
Step 5: Use a breaker bar with the appropriately sized socket to loosen the steering wheel nut. Just a few turns will do — do not remove it completely! It will probably take a few good pulls back and forth to get the wheel free — the column nut should stay on.
Step 6: Once the wheel is loose, you can remove the nut and the wheel. This will expose the clock spring, the little devil behind your flashing airbag warning light.
Step 7: Disconnect the harnesses at the bottom or back of the clock spring and remove the clock spring. Install your new clock spring and break the tab off by bending it until it snaps.
Step 8: Install the steering wheel and use your handy-dandy tape marks to line it up properly.
Step 9: Use a torque wrench to tighten the steering column nut to the specified torque. The harnesses are now ready to be installed, along with the airbag. Quick hack: If you have trouble finding torque specs, you can use your hands and a breaker bar to tighten it as much as you can.
Step 10: Reinstall the lower trim piece and reconnect the negative battery terminal. Turn your car on and voila! No more flashing airbag light!
The Bottom Line
If this procedure doesn’t work for you, or if you aren’t completely confident enough in your abilities to fix the problem yourself, do not hesitate to contact a professional. After all, your airbag system is nothing you want to mess with — it can be the difference between life and death.
If you have any vehicle-related questions or need an airbag system repair, visit MyAirbags, an alternative to expensive dealership part replacement. MyAirbags offers top-quality airbag module resets, seat belt repair, as well as many other services that your vehicle may require. Send us your vehicle’s parts, and we will repair or rest them, then return them to you within 24 hours in their original OEM condition. Don’t put your safety on the line! For any questions or service inquiries, contact MyAirbags today.