What Does It Mean When Airbag Light Is On? | Quick Guide

(Last Updated On: June 17, 2023)

Airbags are installed to protect the front seat passengers. Activated airbag light is alarming, and you seek an answer to what it means when the airbag light is on.

These activated lights alarm you that there is something wrong. For instance, a red check engine light tells you that your vehicle is getting overheated.

Each time you start your vehicle, your vehicle’s system checks your vehicle if everything is clear. All your car lights are turned on for a while and then automatically turned off.

But if the lights are not turning off, your vehicle system is alarming you by activated lights.

The airbag light warns you there is something wrong with your system. Something could be wrong with your seat belts, VI (Vehicle Impact) sensors, or airbag electronic crash unit.

These mentioned elements are considered essential parts of your airbag system. Here we discuss all the possible conditions when your airbag lights are on.

What Does It Mean When Airbag Light Is On?

What Does It Mean When Airbag Light Is On

Airbags secure and protect the driver and front seat passengers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that frontal airbags have confirmed 50,457 lives from 1987 to 2017.

What does it mean when the airbag light is on? The concern is that your airbag is not installed successfully and may not be activated in a car accident.

Your car system can turn the airbag light on in the given conditions when:

  • Your seat belts are not fastened
  • Your Vehicle Impact sensors are not working
  • Your electronic airbag crash unit is out of order

Repairing an airbag is not an easy task, but it must be checked regularly. Your airbags are deployed whenever you have an accident.

You must replace your airbags once activated and reset the airbag light.

Activating a dashboard light is an alarm as the red check engine light is turned on when your engine is overheated.

Similarly, if your airbag light is on, your airbags are deactivated. Driving with deactivated airbags could be hazardous for you. I suggest you must not go with non-activated airbags.

Read More: Are Heated Seats Worth It? | Assess Yourself

Why Does the Airbag Light Come On In My Vehicle?

Whenever a red airbag light comes on in your vehicle, you should know these 5 essential things:

1.      Wiring Electrical Fault

You might have an electrical wiring issue whenever a red light comes on in your vehicle. Or you may have a problem with Supplemental Restraint System itself.

Repairing an SRS requires authorized personnel; you can not improve the system alone. Therefore, immediately fix the issue at your nearest vehicle service center.

2.      You May Need To Replace Your Car Crash Sensors

It is a common practice for the SRS system to turn the red airbag light on after a minor car crash in which the airbags were not deployed.

It happens because the car crash sensor is stimulated but cannot prevent airbags from going off. Let me tell you how an SRS works.

  • On detecting a rapid deceleration, the airbag crash sensor sends a signal to the SRS computer in case of an accident.
  • SRS processes the data received from belt movement and airbag crash sensors.
  • After processing the data, SRS decides which airbag needs to be deployed.

If your car’s crash sensors are stimulated, but the airbags fail to deploy, you need to replace your crash sensor as soon as possible.

3.      Problem With Your Seat Belt

Except for the sensors and airbags, your car’s SRS system has seatbelt pre-tensioners. Whenever your seat belt pre-tensioners detect a forward momentum in the case of a forward crash, these pre-tensioners activate to keep you in the seat firmly.

This way, you do not come in contact with airbags and are protected from striking the dashboard and steering wheel. So, you are protected from any injury. In this way, you are protected from damage.

The tensioned seatbelt will thus exert less pressure on the occupant’s chest while retaining them in a safe position thanks to a force restriction.

The airbag warning light will also show a problem with the seatbelt pre-tensioners. This is another reason to seek professional assistance for any SRS system issues with your car.

4.      Your Air Bag May Not Deploy At The Event Of a Car Crash

The airbag light indicates there is a problem with your SRS computer. This SRS includes different crash sensors, including airbag sensors.

Whenever the red light is on, it tells you there is a problem detected in your SRS, and your airbags may not deploy in the event of an accident.

5.      Do Not Reset The Light

You should not reset the airbag light yourself. You might ignore this red light when it comes on. Over the internet, you can find many websites that will tell you to reset it yourself when you ask what it means when the airbag light is on.

But I will never suggest you reset it yourself. Go to your nearest vehicle service center. So, you can find the actual problem.

Common Reasons To Come Airbag Light On

What Does It Mean When Airbag Light Is On

Here are some possible reasons why you see an airbag light on. It also helps you understand what it means when airbag light is on. These common reasons are mentioned below:

  • Problem with the airbag system
  • Damaged wires under your seat
  • Airbags are set to switch off
  • Clock spring damage
  • Your car might be in an accident
  • Damaged car flood
  • Manufacturing fault

If your light bag is turned on, there could be 7 possible reasons. Visit your nearest vehicle service center, where you can find an authorized person to fix your problem.

Related: Can You Put a CarSeat In A Single Cab Truck?

Is It Safe To Travel With An Activated Airbag Light?

What Does It Mean When Airbag Light Is On

Activated airbag light is a serious condition, and it indicates that your airbags will not deploy in the case of an accident.

Unfortunately, there is no way to find whether airbags will deploy in the case of an accident when the light is on. So, it is hazardous to drive when your airbag light is on.

I advise following these safety precautions when the airbag light is on.

  • Drive your vehicle as slowly and carefully as you can.
  • Stay aware of motorbikes and other potential hazards.
  • Stop your vehicle as soon as you reach the safest place.
  • Contact your garage or breakdown service to recover your vehicle, perform the required diagnostic tests, and make the necessary repairs.
  • Restart your journey only if your airbags are in working condition again.

Never ignore these safety measures when your airbag light turns on. Airbags are installed to protect you in the case of an accident.



What does it mean when airbag light is on? It is a serious question. Because airbags are an essential component of car safety, these are installed to protect the front passengers.

But whenever your child is sitting in the front seat, deactivate your airbag system.

The car has an electronic system that checks all the features of a car whenever you start your vehicle. Suppose the airbag light remains on while others are off.

It indicates that your airbag will not deploy in the case of an accident.

You must follow safety precautions whenever the light is on. But I forbade you to drive the car in this condition.

If your airbag light is on, immediately go to your nearest vehicle repair center. Here you can find an authorized person for your car. Do not restart your journey until your car is repaired.

FAQs | What Does It Mean When Airbag Light Is On

What Does It Mean When Airbag Light Is On?

When your airbag light is on, it indicates something wrong with the SRS computer or your seat belts are not securely fastened. It also meant that your airbag might not deploy in an accident. You are in danger when you see the airbag light on.

How Can I Reset The Airbag Light?

In this case, your airbag light is on. The best advice is to visit your nearest car service center. Never try to reset the airbag light yourself. Find an authorized person to detect the problem first and reset the airbag light.

Is It Legal To Drive A Car When Your Airbag Light Is On?

Driving a car when your airbag light is on is an illegal act. Some cars have a feature to switch off airbags and turn the airbag light on. As airbags are installed to protect the passenger, deactivating them is unsafe.

How Does Airbag Light Works?

There are a lot of sensors installed in your car for different functions. The airbag sensor is one of the sensors. This sensor warns you when something is wrong with the warning light, wiring, and associated systems. Whenever the sensor detects a problem with these systems, it turns the airbag light on.

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