Airbag Light Turns on and Off Randomly (Causes & FIXES)

Airbags are one of the most important safety features in modern vehicles, and they have come a long way since they were first introduced in the 1970s.

Airbags have been shown to reduce the severity of injuries in car accidents, and they can even save lives.

There are two main types of airbags: driver airbags and passenger airbags. Driver airbags are located in the steering wheel, and they deploy when the vehicle is involved in a front-end collision. Passenger airbags are located in the dashboard, and they deploy when the vehicle is involved in a side-impact or rear-end collision.

Even with the airbag’s safety feature installed in your vehicle, they often malfunction, and this is illustrated by the airbag lights.

If you notice the airbag light turn on and off randomly, you should have it checked. This is because of a well-functioning airbag system, the light should remain off, or it may turn on for a few seconds along with other dashboards lights display and then dim out immediately.

What is SRS Airbag Light?

An airbag light is a warning light that illuminates on the instrument panel of a vehicle when there is an issue with the airbag system. This light is also referred to as the SRS (supplemental restraint system) light.

When the light is illuminated, it means that there is a problem with the airbags or the seat belts and that they may not deploy properly in the event of an accident.

There are many different reasons why the airbag light may come on. It could be something as simple as a loose connection, or it could be something more serious like a faulty airbag module. If you see the airbag light come on, it’s important to take your vehicle to a mechanic so they can diagnose the problem and make the necessary repairs.

Reasons Why Airbag Lights Turns on and Off Randomly

Faulty Airbag Sensors

Airbag sensors are devices that are designed to detect the presence of an occupant in a vehicle and trigger the deployment of the airbags in the event of a crash.

These sensors typically use one or more accelerometers to detect the deceleration of the vehicle and determine if it is severe enough to warrant airbag deployment. In some cases, ultrasonic or infrared sensors may be used to supplement the accelerometer data.

Once an impact has been detected, the sensor will send a signal to the airbag control module to initiate deployment.

These sensors are designed to activate the airbags in a timely manner so that they can provide maximum protection to the occupants of a vehicle.

Faulty airbag sensors are the most common reason why airbags may deploy unexpectedly or fail to deploy during a crash.

Airbag sensors are located in various areas throughout the vehicle, including the front bumper, door panels, and side pillars.

Over time, these sensors can become damaged or dislodged, causing them to malfunction. In some cases, the airbag light may come on if the sensor is simply loose and needs to be tightened. If the sensors are loose, they may not be able to properly detect an impact, which can cause the airbag light to turn on and off randomly.

Faulty Airbag Module

One of the most common reasons why your airbag light may turn on and off randomly is due to a problem with the airbag module. An airbag module is a device that is installed in a vehicle to deploy airbags during a collision.

The module contains an airbag, a gas canister, and a sensor. When the sensor detects a collision, it triggers the airbag to inflate. The gas from the canister fills the airbag, which then cushions the occupants of the vehicle during a crash.

If there is a problem with this module, it can cause the airbag light to come on and go off randomly. There are a few different things that can cause a problem with the airbag module, so it is important to have it checked out by a professional if you think this may be the problem.

Faulty Airbag

Faulty airbags have been a problem for many years, and they can cause airbag lights to turn on and off randomly. In fact, they were first recalled in 1995 by Ford Motor Company. Since then, millions of vehicles have been recalled due to faulty airbags.

The most recent recall was in May of 2016, when Takata, the largest manufacturer of airbags, announced that 34 million vehicles needed to be recalled due to a defect in the airbag inflators. This defect can cause the airbag to deploy with too much force, which can send shrapnel flying into the vehicle occupants. This has resulted in over 100 injuries and at least 11 deaths worldwide.

If you have a vehicle that is affected by the Takata recall, it is extremely important that you get it fixed as soon as possible. You can check to see if your vehicle is affected by the recall by visiting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website. If you are unsure of how to proceed, you can always contact a local dealership or automotive repair shop, and they will be able to help you out.

So far, the Takata recall is the largest recall in automotive history. However, it is important to remember that other recalls have been just as large. If your car is affected by one of these recalls, it may display airbag lights on the dashboard, and it’s essential to have it checked by a qualified mechanic.

Wiring Issues

One of the most common reasons why airbag lights turn on and off randomly is due to wiring issues. If there are any loose wires or connections, it can cause the light to come on. In some cases, the wire may be completely broken.

If you suspect that there may be an issue with the wiring, it’s important to have it checked out by a professional as soon as possible. Trying to fix it yourself could make the problem worse and potentially lead to further damage.

Airbag Backup Battery

Your car’s airbag system is powered by a backup battery in case the regular battery fails. This backup battery is usually located under the hood, providing power to the airbag control module and other components of the airbag system.

Over time, this battery can lose its charge, and when that happens, the airbag system may not work correctly.

One of the most common reasons why an airbag light will turn on and off randomly is because there is a problem with the airbag backup battery, or the airbags can deploy while you’re driving, and it could be hazardous.

If you have an older vehicle, it is possible that the battery may need to be replaced. Alternatively, if your vehicle has a newer system, you may just need to have the system reset by a qualified mechanic.

Faulty Airbag Clock Spring

Another common reason for an airbag light to turn on and off randomly is a faulty airbag clock spring. The clock spring is responsible for supplying power to the airbags in the event of a collision.

If it is not working properly, it can cause the airbags to deploy unexpectedly or not at all. In some cases, the entire airbag system may need to be replaced if the damage is severe enough.

Signs of a Failing Airbag Sensors

A failing airbag sensor can pose serious safety risks in a vehicle. Here are some signs that may indicate a problem with the airbag sensors:

Airbag warning light

One of the most common signs of a failing airbag sensor is the illumination of the airbag warning light on the dashboard. This light may stay on continuously or flash intermittently, indicating a fault in the airbag system.

Inconsistent or intermittent airbag deployment

If the airbag deploys unexpectedly or fails to deploy during a collision, it could be a sign of a faulty sensor. Additionally, if the airbags deploy randomly or under normal driving conditions, it may indicate an issue with the sensors.

Faulty passenger detection

Some vehicles have sensors that detect the presence and weight of passengers to control airbag deployment. If these sensors malfunction, the airbags may not deploy when needed or may deploy unnecessarily when the seat is unoccupied.

False alarms

Faulty sensors can trigger false alarms, causing the airbag warning light to illuminate even when there is no actual problem with the airbag system. This can lead to unnecessary concern and confusion for the driver.

System error codes

Modern vehicles have onboard diagnostic systems that can detect malfunctions in various components, including airbag sensors. If you use a diagnostic scanner or have the vehicle checked by a professional, they may be able to retrieve error codes related to the airbag system, indicating a problem with the sensors.

Impact sensor damage

The impact sensors, usually located in the front and rear of the vehicle, are responsible for detecting a collision and triggering airbag deployment. Physical damage to these sensors, such as from an accident or excessive corrosion, can result in sensor failure.

How Do You Fix A Service Airbag Light

Here are some general steps to help you diagnose and potentially fix the “Service Airbag” light issue:

 Check the connections

Start by inspecting the connections under the seats, particularly the wiring harnesses and connectors related to the airbag system. Sometimes, loose or disconnected connections can trigger the warning light. Ensure that all connections are secure and properly plugged in.

Verify the seat sensors

In many vehicles, there are sensors located in the seats that detect whether a passenger is present and adjust the airbag deployment accordingly. These sensors can become damaged or malfunction over time, causing the “Service Airbag” light to illuminate. Carefully inspect the seat area and check for any physical damage or obstructions that could affect the sensors.

Battery reset

If you’ve checked the connections and sensors and the light still persists, you can try resetting the vehicle’s battery. Start by disconnecting the negative terminal of the battery and leaving it disconnected for about 15 minutes. Then reconnect the terminal. This process can reset the vehicle’s electronic systems, potentially clearing any temporary fault codes that triggered the light. Keep in mind that disconnecting the battery will also reset other settings, such as radio presets, so you may need to reconfigure them afterward.

Scan for error codes

If the “Service Airbag” light continues to stay illuminated after checking the connections and resetting the battery, it’s advisable to use a diagnostic scanner or code reader to retrieve the specific error codes related to the airbag system. These codes can provide more detailed information about the exact problem and help you pinpoint the necessary repairs.

Seek professional assistance

If you are unable to resolve the issue on your own or if the error codes indicate a more serious problem, it’s recommended to consult a certified mechanic or an authorized service center. They will have the expertise and specialized equipment to diagnose and fix the problem accurately. The airbag system is crucial for occupant safety, and it’s essential to ensure it is functioning correctly.

Remember that working with the airbag system can be dangerous due to the potential for accidental deployment. If you are not confident or experienced in handling such repairs, it is best to leave it to a professional.


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