Not every driver acts when they see a dashboard warning light come on. However, it is important to get any warning light checked out - but particularly so if it's the airbag - or "SRS '' light. The airbag warning light may take the form of a driver with the airbag deployed.

Because your airbag is such a key part of your car's safety system, it's critical to address an illuminated airbag light. It could be the difference between life and death. While the airbag or SRS light may come on for a variety of reasons, it could mean that your airbag won’t deploy if you're in an accident.

Whenever you start your car, all the dashboard warning lights will come on momentarily. This is normal - it is your car self-testing the vehicle's systems.

However, if you see a warning such as "Air bag off" or "Airbag deactivated!" - remain lit, you need to act.

If this happens, in the first instance, take your car to a mechanic who will be able to check the codes and diagnose the issue.

 
Common reasons for seeing an airbag warning light

 

Interference with seatbelt sensor

If debris or some kind of object is stuck in a seat belt catch, it could cause the seatbelt not to lock properly - and for the computer to think the seatbelt is not fastened. This could trigger a false airbag warning light. Check to see if anything has got lodged in the seat belt buckle, interfering with the sensor.

 
Damaged wires under seat

Sometimes the driver or passengers will put things under the seat, which can damage the wires.

 
Damaged clock spring

Your car's clock spring allows the steering wheel to turn, while maintaining the connection between the electrical system, horn - and airbag. In older cars, damaged or worn clock springs are more common. It will take an hour or two of labour, plus parts, to fix this. The cost might vary depending on your make and model.

 

Car has already been in an accident

In rare cases, a vehicle may have been in an accident - but one not serious enough to trigger the airbag. This near-miss may prompt an SRS warning light - which may need to be reset.

In very rare circumstances, a car may have been flooded, resulting in a corroded computer circuitry. The damage may mean the computer cannot detect the airbag.

 

Diagnosis

Your mechanic will be able to diagnose the issue by checking the code. While many garages can fix the issue, in some cases - such as when the airbag needs to be replaced altogether - the owner may be referred to the original dealership for a solution.