How to Reset Airbag Light? (5 Steps) With or Without Scanner

The airbag can definitely save your life one day if the accident occurs. If you repaired the airbag system, it is now time to reset the airbag light. Here is how you can do it

How To Reset Airbag Light

Did your airbag light pop up on your dashboard, and you now want to know how to reset it?

The engine and airbag lights are some of the dashboard lights you need to pay extra attention to if they light up, especially the airbag light due to its safety importance.

Airbags are designed so they inflate whenever there is a collision, and when the light is on, this will not happen.

How do airbags work?

So before we look at how to reset the airbag light, you should know how the whole function works.

Airbags are lifesavers when you are speeding and hit another car head-on or hit a stationary object. If you do not have an airbag, you could hit your head hard on the steering wheel or dashboard. When you hit something at high speed, your car will decelerate, and this will activate an accelerometer that triggers the airbag circuit.

The airbag circuit has a heating element activated through an electric current. This heating element promotes an explosion inside the airbag that rapidly generates a harmless gas. Most airbags use sodium azide as the explosive element, and the gas produced can either be argon or nitrogen. This gas floods the airbag and causes it to expand; hence, protecting the driver from injuries by occupying the steering wheel and the side. The airbag acts as a cushion.

How to reset the airbag light with a scanner

Now that we know how airbags operate, it is time to learn how to reset the airbag light.
All work done to the airbag system should be made by professionals if you are not 100% sure of what you are doing! Follow these steps to reset the airbag light:

Total Time: 1 hour

Step 1: Check the passenger airbag switch

Airbag Switch

Some cars have a “passenger seat Airbag on/off button.” This is the first thing you should check when you want to remove the airbag light. Maybe someone before you turned it to Off by mistake, which will make the airbag light stay on in most cars.
This button is usually on the dashboard on the passenger side, and you may see it if you open the passenger door or the glove box.

Step 2: Read the trouble codes with an OBD2 Scanner

Car Trouble Codes

Working with your airbag system is crucial, and therefore, always read the trouble codes with an OBD2 scanner to get an idea of where to start your troubleshooting. Do never clear the trouble codes before you fix the problem caused by the airbag light. Read the codes and get information about what can cause the problem and therefore continue the diagnosis.

Step 3: Repair the fault

Repair Airbag Clockspring

You should never just reset the airbag light without repairing the problem. This can deploy the airbags or non-functioning if an accident occurs. Let a professional replace the airbag’s parts if you are not sure of how to do it. Remember always to remove the battery connection when working with airbags. The airbag light will often go away by itself after repairing the problem, but not in all car models.

Step 4: Clear the trouble codes

Clear Trouble Codes

After you have installed the new parts and are 100% sure that the parts are installed correctly, it’s time to reset the engine light. To do this – you need to use an OBD2 scanner, and it’s not possible in another way. Reset the airbag light and make sure that it disappeared from the dashboard. If it is still there – reread the codes and check for any trouble codes.

Step 5: Restart your car & test-drive.

Drive Car

If the airbag light seems to have gone away from your dashboard – restart your ignition and go for a test drive. If the airbag light is gone after a test drive, there is a big chance that the problem is solved. If the problem comes back, reread the codes and continue the procedure.

How to reset airbag light without a Scanner

It is impossible in most car models to reset the airbag light without a scanner. This is for safety cautions because you should always repair the fault after the airbag light occurred. Luckily, in many car models, the airbag light will also go away by itself if you have repaired the problem.

In some older cars, though, it is possible to reset the airbag light without a scanner by removing the car battery terminals.

Check the wiring system underneath the driver or passenger seat for any loose wires or corrosion in the connector plug. Spray the connector plugs with an electronic cleaner and restart your car.

If you can not find any problems there, you should really get an OBD2 scanner or let a workshop read the codes; otherwise, you will just guess the problem out of the dark.

Category: Airbag
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Written by:

Magnus is the owner and main author of MechanicBase. He has been working as a mechanic for over 10 years, and the majority of them specialized in advanced diagnostics and troubleshooting. Certified Automotive Diagnostic Technician.