Home Diagnosis and TroubleshootingDashboard Warning Lights What Does Service Airbag Mean – Is It Something Serious?

What Does Service Airbag Mean – Is It Something Serious?

by Jordan Harris
What Does Service Airbag Mean

Are you having a problem with the airbag light and you are asking yourself what does service airbag warning mean? If you are in this unpleasant situation, then you are at the right place because there will be quite a lot to cover on this topic where we will learn everything when it comes to the airbag light.

Troubleshooting is mastery by itself and is a real skill that you need to learn to fix problems like this. To perfect your skills, you need to understand how everything works in your car and what could be the possibility for that specific defects.

Knowing how everything in your car works will save you a ton of money in the long run. Because there are a ton of unprepared mechanics or mechanics who want to rip you off and will often misdiagnose your car to get more money out of you. So, you first need to learn the possibilities that are out there and help the mechanic pinpoint the issue. And we are going to help you out with that.

In this article, we are going to learn what is an airbag and how this airbag system works. Then we will know what does service airbag mean and what could cause them. We will learn all of the possible causes for this problem and then we will learn how to diagnose the problem and the costs that are involved. So, without further ado, let’s get into the topic.

What Does Service Airbag Mean?

The airbag light is visual information that you have a problem with your vehicle. More precisely with the airbag system. In some cars, this light is represented simply with the letters SRS while in some cars this light is represented with a human that is sitting on a seat and an open airbag in front of it.

What is important though, is to recognize that there is a problem with your airbag system. This light should not turn on in normal situations but only when there is some kind of problem with the airbag system. So, to sum things up, what does service airbag mean? It means that you have a problem that you need to diagnose quickly and effectively.

For this purpose, you will be required to have some equipment. Namely, an OBD2 scanner tool with which you can move on to diagnosing the problem.

With this tool, you will be able to access the brain of the car which is the ECU. And then you will be able to read the codes that the ECU is throwing. Every light on your dashboard that indicates a problem has some code. The check engine light, airbag light, depending much on the car that you are driving.

Then with the OBD2 scanner, you will have the ability to read all these codes and learn more about the problem. Without this tool, it’s like you are working on your car blindfolded and hoping for the best.

Now after we learned what does service airbag mean, we can continue and learn more about the airbag system and how does it work in the first place.

How The Airbag System Works?

We learned what does service airbag mean, now let’s discuss how the airbag system works. As you know, this system isn’t only the airbag light but it has multiple components that are connected to it and these components work together to deliver the best safety for the driver and the occupants in the vehicle.

As you know, there needs to be something on this system to detect when there is an impact. So, for this purpose, there are crash sensors that are installed on the front, the sides, and in the rear end of the vehicle.

These sensors react whenever there is an impact and are sending this information to the SRS module that is located inside of the car, usually under the console between the seats. This module is an electronic device that controls the airbags and tells them when to deploy. Another thing that this SRS module does is that it stores information on the crash as well as exchanges information with the ECU.

Another thing that is connected with the airbag system is the seat belts. They work together with the airbags and are basically in one system. All these components make up the airbag system.

So, when you are asking what does service airbag mean, it is worth noting that there could be something wrong with these components and more on that we are going to cover in the following chapters where we will elaborate this in-depth.

What is worth knowing is that whenever you see an airbag light or SRS light means that there is something wrong with this system and this problem needs addressing as soon as possible. Because you never know when you might end up in an accident. And if the system malfunctions you are basically left without protection.

Why Does The Service Airbag Appear?

We learned what does service airbag mean and how the airbag system works. Now let’s discuss why does the airbag light appears in the first place. Knowing the reasons why a light might pop up will help you immensely when it comes to diagnosing the problem and solving the problem respectively.

What Does Service Airbag Mean

That’s why we are going to cover all of the possibilities in great detail. After covering them we will focus on successfully troubleshooting the issue quickly and effectively. So, let’s dive into the probable causes of the service airbag illuminating.

1. Bad Crash Sensors

We learned what does service airbag mean now let see what are the possible causes for this light to illuminate. The first thing that can cause this light to illuminate is the bad crash sensor or sensors.

As we already told you, several crash sensors are located on the car. Mostly in the front as well as on the side and the rear. These crash sensors are sensing whenever there is an impact and they send information to the SRS module to activate the airbags.

Sometimes these crash sensors can malfunction. Either from age or some loose connection. They will stop working and the SRS module will check the connection to them. If it doesn’t have a reading the module will suspect that there is something wrong with the sensor and will throw a service airbag light and you will ask yourself what does service airbag mean?

What is important though is that you shouldn’t panic and go into diagnosing the problem and replacing the faulty crash sensor. And how you can do that we will cover later in the article. Now let’s focus on the other reasons of what does service airbag mean to appear on the dashboard of your car.

2. Bad Wiring Or Other Electrical Problems

Another probable reason behind this airbag light to illuminate is the bad wiring. As you know the sensors are connected with wiring that goes from the module to the sensor itself.

So, there could be problems with this wiring and make the light illuminate and make you ask yourself what does service airbag mean?

The wiring is susceptible to rodent attacks as well as damage from foreign objects if the car participated in an accident at one point in its life. So, it is worth giving it a check if you want to determine if the sensor is bad or the wiring is bad and is causing all these problems.

3. Drained Backup Airbag Battery

In case the battery of the vehicle has been drained completely, the battery of the SRS system could also be drained. This is a backup battery that is in charge of the SRS system only.

So, when the car battery is empty, this battery is powering the airbag system in your car and sadly it can empty itself if it doesn’t get power for a long time.

Meaning that this battery will cause the airbag light to illuminate and make you ask what does service airbag light means. In this case, you will only need to reset the airbag light and that would be it.

How you can reset it, we are going to explain later in the article after we discuss all of the possibilities when it comes to the airbag light to illuminate and ask yourself what does service airbag mean. Now, let’s move on to the next possible reason.

4. Faulty Airbag

Another thing that can fail is the airbag itself. Airbags age and as they age, the chances for them to work reduce. Meaning that an airbag in an older car could malfunction more frequently than one found in a newer car. And we are talking here about cars that are 20 or more years old.

But luckily for you, in most cases when the airbag has malfunctioned, you will be notified by the system and informed that there is something wrong. So don’t be confused and ask yourself what does service airbag means when you see it.

This is a clear indication of a problem and this problem needs checking as soon as possible. The more you delay the repair the more you risk your life. Since this light is illuminated, the airbag system is malfunctioning. More on how to address the problem, later in the article.

5. Bad SRS Module

Another thing that can go bad and make you wonder what does service airbag mean is the bad SRS module. This module as we said is the brain of the airbag system and this module decides when and which airbags should deploy.

This module is also prone to malfunctioning. Especially if it was underwater or in a humid environment. Water droplets might get into it and cause the module to be confused and start to glitch. One of the consequences of this glitching is the service airbag light on the dashboard.

Also, when you have a faulty airbag module you cant expect the airbag system to work. And you are basically driving a car that is not safe at all. Imagine what would be if a human doesn’t have a brain, similar to the airbag system in your car. In case of an accident, the airbags will not deploy and you could suffer some permanent injuries. So, don’t ask yourself what does service airbag mean and start working on addressing the issue.

6. Seat Belt Is Broken

A broken seat belt can also make the airbag light turn on and ruin your day. But why is this the case, what does the airbag has in common with the seat belt?

Well, they are integrated into one system. Meaning that they work together all the time. So, if one of these components is broken, the light will turn on.

What Does Service Airbag Mean

The seat belt usually breaks whenever the car was involved in an accident. But more on that, we are going to elaborate on one of the following chapters where we will discuss what does service airbag light means in case of an accident.

7. Bad Clock Spring

The clock spring might also fail and make you wonder what does service airbag mean. So, why is this the case? Well, this is the case because the clock spring makes a connection from the SRS module to the driver’s airbag.

The clock spring was specifically designed to aid the steering wheel to turn without the enormous wiring. Meaning that this spring makes a stable connection with all of the components inside of the steering wheel like the airbag, horn, and other buttons without the wiring that could twist and break.

But what is bad is that this clock spring can also break and make the airbag light pop up. As you know there are countless cycles of the wheel turning left and right and this could damage the clock spring at some point.

Requiring the replacement of the clock spring to make the airbag system works. So, what does this mean for you? Well, it means that whenever the clock spring break, your airbag will not work and you could get hurt. That’s why replacing the clock spring is essential if you want to make the airbag system work well once again. But more on that later when we will discuss diagnosing this problem with the airbag.

8. Vehicle Was Involved In An Accident

And the last reason why does service airbag can pop up and make you ask yourself what does service airbag mean is if the vehicle was into an accident and some of the airbags and seat belts deployed. Then someone probably did a botched repair on your car and you are scratching your head right now.

If you didn’t know, when airbags or seat belts deploy, this light turns on automatically and stays on. Then the car has to be rebuilt and repaired properly. And what happens sometimes is that these repairmen do not care if something isn’t working right.

But what they really need to do is to repair the SRS module which is the brain of the airbag system and then make sure that everything in this system works properly.

Whenever you have one of these botched repaired cars, you are highly likely to be driving in a death trap. In some cases, the airbags would not deploy at all and make you deal with the consequences when you crash. And you don’t want that.

That’s why it is a good thing that this light started flashing and you are curious about what does service airbag mean. And how you can diagnose the problem we are going to cover in the following chapters.

What Is An OBD2 Scanner And How Can It Help Me With The Service Airbag Light?

Whenever you have an airbag light on and you are asking yourself what does airbag mean, you will also need an OBD2 scanner to diagnose the problem.

As we covered previously, the OBD2 scanner is a smart tool that will allow you to hack your car. Not literally hack and tell it what to do, but will help you when it comes to diagnosing problems.

Namely this problem with the airbag light. And what is good with these tools is that they are dirt cheap. You can find them on Amazon for a really good deal.

Then you turn the car on and plug the scanner in the OBD2 port and let it scan the car and see what kind of errors does it show. If there is something bad with the airbag system, you will have this information at your glance.

And when you have the information, you can think about the next steps that you will take.

But the first thing that you would want to do, is to delete all the errors and reset the airbag light completely. Then if the light appears you could move on to deeper troubleshooting. The reason behind this problem could sometimes be a drained battery or another insignificant thing.

Then if the airbag light disappears, you will never have to worry about it. But if it doesn’t, you will need to study the codes, and based on this input you will need to troubleshoot the problem if you want to fix it permanently.

Airbag Codes, What Do They Mean?

When learning these errors you will know what does service airbag mean. Unlike the codes that are connected with the engine, the codes that you will get for the airbag system are usually two digits something like 21, 33, 44.

When it comes to the airbags themselves, the codes usually start with a B which indicates body. For example, B0017. Unlike the P codes that are indicating powertrain problems.

Then based on the codes that you get, you will need to search online. And learn what could possibly go wrong. Remember that every car is different. So, it will take ages to cover all of the cars that are out there. The important thing is to know what does service airbag mean. Then you will be able to diagnose the problem.

Cost To Fix This Problem With The Service Airbag?

So, what is the cost to fix the service airbag? Since we covered what does service airbag mean. And also the reasons why it appears. It is also useful to cover the cost that is involved to reset the airbag light. As well as to fix the possible problems that could be causing the airbag to appear in the first place.

What Does Service Airbag Mean

This is normal if you take your car to a dealership or a car service to solve this problem. If you try to reset the airbag light by yourself. The only cost that you will pay would be for the OBD2 scanner tool. But if you take your car to a shop, means that other people will be working on it.

This could cost from $50 for a simple light reset to up to $1,000 if you have a faulty airbag or an SRS module that needs resetting or replacing. All these things that can fail in this system cost money and you need to be prepared to open your pocket if there is a need to do so.

Airbag Repair Facts:

  1. Airbag repair may not be a common automotive repair service, but it is necessary when airbag warning lights are illuminated or flashing.
  2. The airbag warning light on the dashboard or computer display indicates that the airbags are deactivated and will not deploy properly if you get into an accident.
  3. Airbag warning lights may be caused by a depleted airbag backup battery that requires recharging and a sensor reset.
  4. Faulty sensors connected to different components of the car may also cause airbag warning lights to illuminate.
  5. The airbag clock spring that maintains continuity between the electrical wiring of the vehicle and the driver-side airbag can become worn out naturally over time, causing potential airbag failures.
  6. Wet airbag module due to water damage could affect the airbag module located under the driver and/or passenger seat.
  7. Airbag warning lights indicate a serious issue that should be rectified quickly for your safety and that of your passengers.
  8. Airbag warning lights could come on by mistake or due to a number of causes, so it’s important to get the airbag system and sensors repaired as soon as possible.
  9. After an accident, deployed airbags will need to be replaced, and the sensors will need to be reset.
  10. Regular maintenance and inspection of the airbag system can help prevent potential airbag failures.

Conclusion To What Does Service Airbag Mean

In this article, we covered quite a bit. First, we learned what does service airbag mean, and then we also learned how the airbag system works and how it communicates with the ECU of the car. As we learned, the brain of the airbag system is the SRS module that is located below the front central console.

Then we learned the possible reasons why the airbag light appears. There could be many reasons, faulty wiring and crash sensors, broken clock spring, bad airbag, bad SRS module, previous crash. All of these things can turn on this light on the dashboard and ruin your day. So, it really depends when it comes to diagnosing and repairing and how much money you will have to pay.

In the best case, it could only cost you $50 to $100 but in the worst case, you might be needed to pay a thousand dollars or more to get things sorted out.

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