Home Safety How To Reset Airbag Light – All The Different Ways

How To Reset Airbag Light – All The Different Ways

by Kelvin Yates

Are you noticing some lights on your dashboard? More precisely the airbag and you are looking for ways of how to remove this annoying light from your dashboard? If that is the case, then you came to the right place because we are going to explain to you how to reset airbag light.

Modern cars are packed with technology, when they are new, everything is alright. But as they age, some electric gremlins and other issues concerning the electrical components can pop out every now and then.

Some vehicles are relatively less prone to these kinds of malfunctions. But some other cars are extremely prone to these problems. More precisely the TPMS light, check engine light, or airbag light. In some cars, the whole cluster is lit on like a Christmas tree and this can be very frustrating for you as an owner because there is always something to fix on the car and spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on these repairs.

Here, troubleshooting comes into play, and you really need to start learning how to troubleshoot and get an OBD2 scanner for yourself. But you shouldn’t worry because we are going to explain how you can do this.

First, we are going to learn how the airbag system works, then we are going to learn more about this airbag light and the reasons why does it appear in the first place. Then we are going to learn how to reset airbag light with and without an OBD2 scanner. So, let’s get into it.

How The Airbag System Works?

Before we dive into more complex stuff, it is good to know some basic things and learn what this airbag system is and what is its purpose in our vehicles. Knowing this will be a good starting point in understanding the airbag light and why does it appear in the first place.

The airbag system is the safety system inside of your vehicle that deploys airbags in case of an accident. Whenever your vehicle gets hit, there are crash sensors that are activated and deploy the airbags.

The crash sensors are mounted at the frontal crash bar as well as the doors and rear end. What’s not so good is that they do not necessarily record every impact but only a certain impact in a certain zone. So, if you hit a trailer for example that is tall and do not have a rear end, the airbags are less likely to open because the sensors are located down below. That’s why you need to be aware of these things.

As we mentioned, whenever you get hit from the front or on the side, the sensor will send a signal to the SRS module that is located between the front seats. You cannot see this module because it is tucked under the plastic covers.

Then this SRS module tells which airbag to be deployed. Because not every airbag has to be deployed in every accident. For example, if you don’t have a front passenger, there is no reason to deploy the curtain or door airbags at the passenger side.

Overall, the airbag system is a crucial system that guarantees our safety and makes sure that we do not get killed or end up hurt with permanent injures. But how to reset airbag light? More on that in a bit.

What Is An Airbag Light?

The airbag light is located usually on the cluster in front of the driver. How you can identify it is pretty easy. Usually, this light has a man that is sitting and a bubble in front of him. That bubble is the airbag.

So, in simple words, the airbag light is an indicator that tells you that there is something wrong with your airbag system. This light shouldn’t ever be turned on if the system is perfectly working. So, why does it illuminate? We are going to cover the reasons a bit later, but now let’s explain the mechanism behind it.

Whenever your car gets into a crash or it has some electrical malfunction, there is information that is sent to the SRS module that is in charge of the airbag system. Then this SRS module sends its data to the car’s computer and then the computer evaluates this information.

How To Reset Airbag Light

And if this information is not good, he will not like it and angrily he will throw the airbag light on your dash. It essentially tells you to fix that problem!

You could know why this is happening since you cannot connect your brain to the computer. But you can get a tool that can help you out with this. And this is the OBD2 scanner. By scanning the car, you will be able to tell what could cause this problem and then troubleshoot the issues and fix this issue quickly and effectively.

For this purpose, you need to perfect your troubleshooting skills. And to do that, you have to understand the problem in-depth and understand the reasons behind it. That is something that we are going to cover in the following chapter and after that, we are going to explain how to reset airbag light.

Reasons Why The Airbag Light Turns On

But why this light turns on in the first place? What are the possible reasons for this action? Well, that’s what we are going to cover in the following chapters. We will list all of the reasons that could be the possible culprit for the problem with the airbag light.

Learning the reasons will also going to help you to troubleshoot the issue and easily fix the problem without taking your car to a mechanic and paying a ton of money. So, if you want to save a lot of money, follow along.

1. Wiring Problems

The first problem can be a wiring issue. Remember that there are cables that go to the sensors. So, if you have rodents around, you will notice one of these issues with the airbag lights sooner or later. They eat the cables and will make your wiring short out causing the airbag light.

In addition to this, if the car was in an accident and the wiring was damaged, you will notice the airbag light as well. Basically, everything that happens to the wires will make your system malfunction and cause problems to appear on the dash.

2. Damaged Airbag Clock Spring

The airbag clock spring can also fail and cause you an issue like this with the airbag light and make you look online on how to reset airbag light.

How it works is pretty simple, the clock spring has a function to keep the continuity of the drivers’ airbag and the electrical wiring that powers your airbag.

So, when the clock spring fails, the airbag will not deploy if there is an accident. The coil spring is too thin and as the steering is used and abused this material fades away and there is a loss in the connection. This loss of connection will make your airbag light turn on and piss you off.

But this is a good thing because you will know that there is a problem and you just ignore it. If there is an accident the airbag will not open and this could be fatal.

That’s why airbag lights should not be ignored. Ignoring them will only make things worse. This problem more often occurs on older vehicles that have one of the earlier systems.

The only way to determine if there is a problem with the clock spring is to scan the car with an OBD2 scanner, usually, a DTC code will be present if there is a problem with the spring.

3. Depleted Airbag Backup Battery

The secondary backup battery of the airbag system can also deplete and not hold a charge. This will result in a malfunction of the airbag system and possible system errors and airbag light on the dashboard to be shown.

This battery is not the main car battery, so do not confuse it with this battery that is used to start the car. The secondary battery is usually a tiny battery that is only for the airbag system.

The way to diagnose this problem would be again to scan the car for possible codes and learn from them. If the battery is bad, then you will have a clear indication that there is something wrong and this needs fixing. But how to reset airbag light? More on that in a bit.

4. Bad Crash Sensor

A bad crash sensor can also be the culprit for this issue. This is the case because crash sensors are electrical components that can fail if they are too old or possibly damaged by an accident.

If the car was hit before, the wiring and the sensors have to be checked and the problem has to be addressed ASAP. They are not that expensive and could be a real lifesaver for you. No pun intended. Having a properly working airbag system is key. But how to reset airbag light? More on that in a bit after we cover all the possible reasons why your airbag light could turn on.

5. Bad Airbag Module

The airbag module or also known as the SRS module is the brain of your airbag system. Without this module, your system will not be able to work at all.

And when the car crashes, this system has to be reset by a special company that is working with these modules to bring back the functionality of your airbag system. So, if there was some poor work done to your car if it was crashed.

Then this might be the culprit for the issue and it has to be patched for the problem to be solved. Also, the module can be damaged from moisture if the car was flooded at some point. But it can also burn off on its own and fail. The only way to find out the real problem would be to scan the car with an OBD2 scanner. But how to reset airbag light? More on that after we finish all of the reasons.

6. Bad Airbag

A faulty airbag could also make your airbag light turn on. Airbags can also malfunction. But what is good is that they can inform you when there is a problem. And this is by showing you the airbag light.

The only solution for this problem would be to replace the airbag with a new one. Airbags can often be quite expensive though. Especially if it is a driver’s side airbag, these can cost hundreds of dollars since they wear the steering wheel horn button as well as the outside leather and the badge. Overall, expensive fix, but you need to sort this out if you want to get rid of the airbag light.

But how to reset airbag light? Let’s first answer if should you reset the airbag light and then we are going to discuss how you can give it an easy reset.

Should You Reset The Airbag Light?

Before we dive into resetting and stuff, let’s first see if you should reset this light at all in the first place? The answer is that it depends.

This light appears for a reason and this reason means that the airbag system is malfunctioning. This malfunctioning means that in case of an accident the airbags will not deploy and you will get hurt.

That’s why resetting this airbag light might be a bad idea for your well-being. You need to sort out the problem and then reset the light (as you do when learning how to reset the maintenance light on a Toyota Camry and how to reset maintenance light on Toyota RAV4). Or in case, if you know that this system often is malfunctioning in your car you can learn how to reset airbag light and reset the light when it shows up on the dash.

How To Reset Airbag Light

Sometimes this light can also appear for no particular reason, for example, a short in the system and the light will turn on. That’s why if it appears only once, the best is to try to reset it. So, if it appears again, then you know that this problem needs sorting out. And in the following chapters, we are going to learn precisely that.

First, we are going to learn how to reset airbag light without a scanner. Then we are going to explain how you can reset the light with an OBD2 scanner. So, follow along.

How To Reset The Airbag Light Without A Scanner?

Now let’s first cover the ways of how to reset airbag light without an OBD2 scanner. This would be quite handy if you don’t have a scanner by your side at the moment. So, without further ado, let’s cover the first method.

Method 1

This method requires no intervening with any wiring or other stuff. It is totally beginner-friendly and anyone can do it. Just follow the steps that we are covering.

Step 1

The first step will require slotting your car keys into the ignition and switching them to the on position.

Step 2

Now it’s time for the important bit and that is to wait for the airbag light to turn on. After 7 seconds it should turn off by itself. After the light disappears immediately switch the key off and way a few seconds.

Then repeat steps one and two a few times more.

Step 3

After repeating the procedure 1 to 2 times more, then you should start the engine. After you start the car the light should come on and last for at least 7 seconds and then shut off. This means that this procedure went successfully and you have managed to reset the airbag light.

Method 2

If method 1 hasn’t worked, then you should go for method number 2. This method requires far fewer steps than the first method.

For this method, you will need to have access to the car battery. Then you will have to remove the positive terminal and leave it like this for a few minutes. It is also good to try to turn on some of the components like the radio or dome lights to fully remove the power from the system.

After a couple of minutes connect the positive cable back and the airbag light should be gone. If it appears again it means that there is a problem and this problem needs troubleshooting. That’s something that we are going to cover in the following chapters.

What Is An OBD2 Scanner?

For those who are new to troubleshooting and diagnosing problems, it is worth explaining what is an OBD2 scanner. This scanner is a lifesaver and will help you out tremendously whenever you have problems with your car.

With the OBD2 scanner, you will practically be allowed to access the car’s onboard computers. There you will be able to learn from it and see what kind of errors is showing.

How To Reset Airbag Light

The OBD2 scanner has a screen on which you can access some functions like reading the codes as well as resetting the codes. Like in this case with the question of how to reset the airbag light.

You reset the airbag using this smart tool. Even the most basic tools can do the job. But if you want to be on the safe side. I would recommend you to go the more expensive tools. Specifically, a tool that you can connect with your smartphone via Bluetooth.

These tools will give you the most information on this specific problem and help you to get around this issue quickly and effectively. But how this is done? Let’s find out in the following chapter.

How To Reset The Airbag Light With A Scanner?

So, how resetting the airbag light is done? It’s actually fairly simple to do. The only thing you need to do is to connect the OBD2 tool into the OBD2 port which is usually located under the steering column. In some cases, it is located between the seats under the plastic.

To find the OBD2 port you can google out your car make and year, then add the term “OBD port”. See the results and probably between the first ones you will find the thing you are looking for.

Then start the car and plug in the tool. After you successfully plugged in the tool, activate the scanning tool. Then wait a few minutes until the scanning process is done.

After the scanning process is done, you simply delete the codes. If you delete the codes the airbag light will be successfully removed. But if it appears once again, then it means that you have a problem.

The next logical thing to do is to inspect the codes in detail and learn what do they mean. Then google them and investigate which component of the airbag system has malfunctioned. Then replace the specific component and clear off the errors once again.

This would probably fix your problem permanently. And you will not have the need to learn how to reset airbag light once again.

Can I Continue Without Resetting The Airbag Light?

Yes, you can continue driving like this. But this will also mean that your system has a problem and your airbags could not deploy in case of an accident.

That’s why you need to sort this problem out quickly and effectively. Don’t wait and keep resetting the light. If it keeps appearing, something is wrong with your system and this needs fixing ASAP. The problem is probably caused by some of the reasons that we listed above in the article.


In this article, we have covered quite a lot when it comes to the airbag system. We first learned how the airbag system works and what is the airbag light.

Then we have covered the most common reasons why this light appears. These can be some minor unimportant things and can also be some really important problems which are more often the cause. But the important thing is not to ignore this light and act whenever it starts to appear.

First, you can learn how to reset airbag light which we explained in detail how it’s done. Then, if the light persists, you will need to diagnose the problem and find the culprit behind it. Once you got it sorted out, this light will probably not going to turn on again.

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