An airbag light that appears on your vehicles dashboard or says SRS (supplemental restraint system) should never come on unless there is a fault in your car air bag system. Like the Engine and ABS computer, the Airbag control module runs a self-check every time the vehicle is driven. If it finds a fault within its system it will set a code, turn on the airbag light and disable itself.
There are a number of reasons why your airbag light has come on or is flashing. We will cover a few explanations that may help you identify where the problem may have originated. First and foremost if the airbag light is on or flashing, the SRS system is inactive. Therefore, if you get into an accident, the airbag/s will not deploy leaving you unprotected.
A common problem that signals an airbag warning light to turn on or flash, is that your cars battery might have drained recently and the airbag battery backup depleted. This will often correct itself once the battery charge is fully restored. However, depending on your vehicle, you may need a technician to remove the soft code error that was written to the airbag control module.
The airbag clock springs main function is to maintain continuity with the drivers airbag and the electrical wiring. It maintains continuity by coiling in and out as the steering wheel turns. After many years of use the thin circuit bands my become brittle or worn and cause the drivers airbag to have an intermittent connection. If this occurs a DTC or Soft-Code will be reported to the airbag control module and the airbag warning light will turn on or flash. This is a popular problem on older model vehicles. The only way to determine if your clock-spring is damaged is to have ClearmyDashlights technician diagnose your airbag warning light with a diagnostic tool. The diagnostic tool will provide the technician with a DTC code and advise them if the clock-spring needs replacement.
A common location for the airbag module in many vehicles is underneath the driver or passenger seat. Therefore, even in light water damaged vehicles the module will short-out or corrode after being exposed to moisture. A shorted module will immediately general a DTC airbag code and your airbag light will flash a warning. Water damaged modules should be replaced as they will often produce unexplained and continued errors.
The drivers airbag is made up of several components. A cylinder filled with gas, the steal housing, airbag pack and the vinyl airbag cover. When the airbag module receives a deployment signal the igniter switch starts a chemical reaction, which then inflates the airbag pack in fractions of a second.
The passenger airbag is located underneath or is part of the passenger dashboard. Older models are usually single-stage and newer models are dual-stage. Although most earlier passenger airbags included the cover there are many new variations where the airbag is underneath the dash and is not sold with the cover.
Side impact airbags were designed primarily to reduce head, neck & shoulder trauma. There success encouraged car manufacturers to quickly adopt side airbags in an effort to receive a higher safety rating for their vehicles. Today, front side impact airbags are included on most if not all-foreign and domestic manufactured base models.
The airbag control module is also known as the airbag sensor, diagnostic unit, computer module etc. They are mounted in different locations throughout the vehicle. Some common places are under the driver and passenger seat, centre console, kick panel, under radios and behind the steering column. The airbag control module is good until a deployment occurs. However most modules can be reset. During a collision the airbag control module receives information from the impact sensor, which then, relays a signal to deploy the airbags. The airbag sensor is then locked until it is either replaced or reprogrammed. Each vehicle can have many types of modules depending on which SRS features were equipped with the car. On start-up, the module checks the SRS system and reports any errors.
The clock spring is simply a coil that retracts and expands inside its housing as the steering wheel turns. Its function is to maintain electrical continuity for all the components on the drivers airbag. The components include the airbag, horn, and any vehicle controls such as radio, cruise, heat and even telephone on some vehicles.
Pretensioners help optimise the performance of the airbag systems. Maintaining proper occupant position reduces the amount of work the airbags must perform, and thus increases the level of protection provided by the SRS System. Keeping the occupant in the proper position minimises injury due to the rapid inflation of the airbags. There are three types of seat belt pretensioners, electrical, mechanical, and pyrotechnic. The latest version is the pyrotechnic pretensioner, which use electrically triggered pyrotechnics that tighten the seatbelt upon sensing a crash event. These devices can operate on the buckle or ratchet side of the seatbelt mechanism.