There’s really no debating the annoyance of flashing dashboard lights in your face. 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 goes off, 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 skills and want to fix the flashing light yourself, you must ensure that you are using extreme caution to avoid the airbag blowing up in your face.
Diagnosing the Airbag Warning Light
First things first, how does the airbag system work? An airbag system consists of a few sensors, a module that interprets the signal, and an airbag that contains a small charge to make it deploy in an accident. These sensors can become worn and torn after time, specifically the passenger’s occupancy sensor and the clock spring.
The passenger occupancy sensor and the clock spring are actually the two most common sensors to go faulty and could be the reason behind your flashing airbag warning light. 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 those 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. But don’t worry! This is actually a very simple process and can even be done in under 20 minutes. So get out your hand tools and follow these steps to fix your airbag warning light.
Time 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 10-15 minutes for the capacitors to discharge.
Step 2: Make sure that your wheels are straight and your steering wheel is facing straight. Hold the center section of the wheel in place – where your airbag is located – and locate the screws.
Step 3: Once the screws have been unscrewed, pull the airbag towards you and remove the connectors. Use a pick and slide the yellow clips out 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 part, you want to make sure that the steering lock is engaged to avoid a moving wheel. Use two pieces of painter’s tape and place it between the steering wheel and the steering column trim. This will later serve as your point of reference for when you return the steering to its original position.
Step 5: Use a breaker bar with the appropriate sized socket to loosen the steering wheel nut just a few turns – 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. 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. The harnesses are now ready to be installed, along with the airbag.
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 and 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 any other service that your vehicle may require. Simply send in your vehicle parts and have them returned to you within 24 hours, restored to their original OEM condition. Don’t put your safety on the line! For any questions or service inquiries, contact MyAirbags, today.