Help. My Airbag light is on. We get that a lot. The team at MyAirbags helps people deal with this issue every day. Actually, it's how we came to name our company "MyAirbags". A series of questions usually follows. How can the airbag light be on if my airbag isn't deployed? Can a faulty seatbelt trigger the airbag light? Can I reset the light with a scanner? Multiple SRS safety devices can trigger your airbag light if deployed or faulty including (A) Airbag Module, (B) Seat Belt Pretensioner, (C) Battery Pyro Fuse, (D) Collapsible Steering Column Sensor, (E) Active Headrest, and (F) Active Hood Pop-Up Actuator. Oftentimes, one or more of these parts can be overlooked during a post-collision repair. MyAirbags can fix them all. Deployed or faulty components must be serviced or replaced. It's not just airbags (which can only be replaced, not serviced).
Should I get my vehicle scanned for SRS DTC codes?
Diagnosis is the first step towards resolving an issue with your Safety Restraint System. That airbag light is probably the only indication that a problem exists. Also known as DTCs, Diagnostic Trouble Codes indicate which SRS devices need attention.
While you can visually inspect connections and components, an SRS-capable OBD II scanner is required for proper diagnosis. You can purchase your own scanner or have an auto parts store or auto repair shop scan your vehicle. If your car has been in a collision, the body shop will scan your vehicle for DTC codes. Thousands of savvy collision repair shops follow this practice every day. A badly crumpled fender needs to be replaced but when it comes to SRS devices, new parts can be expensive, on backorder, and may require VIN encoding after installation. With the exception of airbags, your body shop can send your existing deployed SRS parts to MyAirbags for service to save time and money.
Should I get an OBD2 scanner to clear my airbag light?
If your car is out of warranty, or if you have an older car from the late 90s or early 2000s, get a code scanner. Instead of chasing mystery parts, a good scanner will save you a small fortune in the long run. Scanner features vary wildly from one unit or brand to the next, so take your time while shopping. At the end of the day, find a model that can read SRS error codes in addition to the usual powertrain and emissions codes. Live data is our favorite feature as it helps avoid guesswork. As one DTC code can often indicate faults by multiple parts, live data can help you zero in on the faulty part by highlighting which sensors are out of range.
Handheld or tablet-style?
We have an Innova 5310 hand-held scanner on hand that can read and erase SRS error codes. For less than $150 street price, you get an SRS-capable scanner that can read/erase DTC codes, pinpoint emissions system problems, and offers live data. Though we have many scanners, we keep a handheld scanner on hand since they boot up more quickly than tablets for fast code reading.
Our Engineering team has numerous bi-directional diagnostic tablets on hand from Snap-On and OEM manufacturers. They are essential for proprietary OE-level programming. If you want a tablet-style tool for general troubleshooting and repair work, consider the Autel MaxiCOM MK908 tablet. We purchased their complete MaxySYS Pro system and find that it is highly effective for reading and testing a wide range of sensors. We are eager to test Innova's 5610 Car Scan Pro handheld. It has full bi-directional control to actuate sensors and perform some dealer-level resets, and only costs $329 street price.
Can a code scanner clear all SRS codes?
The answer is" "Yes and no". There are two types of SRS codes: Soft Codes and Hard Codes. You can clear any soft error codes after deployed parts have been serviced or replaced. A code scanner cannot reset hard codes. Like an airplane's "Black Box", vehicles store crash data in their airbag module to aid with accident analysis. These are called hard codes and cannot be cleared with an over-the-counter OBD II scanner. Hard codes can only be properly cleared by replacing the module or by sending the unit to MyAirbags for a comprehensive reset service. It's worth noting that replacement airbag modules can be quite expensive and require extra time and cost for VIN encoding. Ultimately, it's more practical for MyAirbags to reset your existing module.
Airbag light soft code reset
For a soft code like B1881 "Seatbelt Pretensioner Circuit Open", look for a damaged or unlatched squib connector, or deployed pretensioner. In this example, the soft code can be cleared after the part and circuit are repaired. Use your code scanner to check the status of all SRS components and send all of the affected parts to MyAirbags for service together. MyAirbags is the ONLY company that can service all of the different types of SRS components. One-stop shopping can make all the difference if you are trying to finish up a car rebuild quickly.
Can I just bypass the circuit with resistors to make the airbag light go off?
No. Absolutely not. Don't do it. Disabling or bypassing safety equipment will render the vehicle LESS SAFE and can cause serious bodily injury. It's just common sense. In addition to being dangerous, disabling or bypassing SRS sensors may carry serious fines as well as jail time -- especially when selling a vehicle. Laws vary by state.
Turn that airbag light off the right way
Special tools and handling procedures are required to repair most SRS parts as they are triggered by small pyrotechnic "explosive" charges. Seat belt pretensioners are a prime example. MyAirbags is ATF and DOT licensed to replace pyrotechnic charges and fuses found in SRS devices. OEM parts are installed exclusively. While MyAirbags does not sell or service airbags due to regulations, we are the only company that can service all of the other SRS devices as listed here in this article. That means MyAirbags is the best way to make sure you restore safety by resolving your airbag light the right way.