A malfunctioning or blinking airbag light might be tempting to ignore. After all, it doesn’t affect your driving experience, isn’t it?
Well, it’s time to equip yourself with facts! Airbags, which happen to be an integral part of your car’s SRS (supplemental restraint system), go a long way in keeping you safe. Particularly, these lifesaving components demonstrate their value in the case of accidents and unfortunate incidents. With a properly functional airbag, you can keep yourself as well as your family safe from serious head injuries. Airbags go a long way in keeping the passengers safe. Eventually, when you come across a flashing or malfunctioning airbag light, be prudent enough to fix it at the earliest. In the end, it’s better to be protective than to repent, right?
Remember, frontal airbags have saved more than 50, 457 lives since 1987 in the US as per NHTSA. Read on to know how much you need to fork out while getting your airbag light fixed. Besides, you will have a comprehensive knowledge of the associated expenses.
How much does it cost to fix airbag light?
The cost of replacing your airbag light may range from a few hundred dollars to $600.
In case you find the airbag light blinking or deactivated on your dashboard, you urgently need to get it fixed. It implies that the airbags are not ready to function in case the car meets with an accident. Besides, a malfunctioning airbag light might point to a glitch in the overall airbag system, given that you have not already met with an accident. The most logical move is to hire a professional to scrutinize your airbags before you take the steering once again. The process might be time-intensive, and the model of your car determines the expense. Besides, the cost also depends on the vehicle manufacturer.
In case some of the components in the system have been malfunctioning, you need to count their replacement costs too. Here are the corresponding costs you need to shell out in addition to the labor expenses.
- Steering wheel airbag: Around $1,000
- Side curtain airbag: Around $400
- Seat belt and tensioner: Around $165
- Clockspring: $350
Sometimes, the entire airbag might require a replacement. Luxury car brands might charge $1,000 onwards for the replacement of a single airbag. Therefore, be prepared to shell out $3,000 to $6,000 in case you are replacing both the frontal airbags and other airbags after a crash. If you hire an expert to replace the seat belt tensioner and the seat belt, it would cost you $150 to $165.
Does insurance cover airbag replacement?
In most situations, the automobile insurer would compensate the owner for replacing the airbags. However, considering the high expense to replace these components, insurers would rather settle on ‘totaling’ the car. Make sure to have adequate coverage with an expensive auto insurance plan, so that you can benefit from the coverage.
In a nutshell, the insurer will cover the airbag replacement cost under the following conditions.
- The vehicle is not totaled, where the replacement cost might exceed the car’s overall value
- Another vehicle hits your car (the other driver’s liability coverage would work)
- You had purchased collision insurance, where the insurer will compensate you regardless of the driver at fault
How much does it Cost to fix airbag sensor?
The cost of fixing your airbag sensor also depends on the vehicle manufacturer and the model. Different manufacturers deploy different sensors in the cars.
On average, car owners need to pay $250 to $350 to fix the sensor. If you have a high-end car, you can expect to shell out more. Moreover, you need to factor in the labor cost of the mechanic you hire to replace the sensor. If you are comfortable with DIY replacement, you can save yourself a few hundred dollars.
Where should you check your airbag light?
You will find your airbag light on your dashboard. In case the light keeps blinking or comes on, you need to consult a mechanic.
If the issue is nominal, your local mechanic should be able to fix the airbag light problem. However, when it comes to something as sensitive as your airbag light, it’s wise to consult someone experienced. Reach out to the vehicle manufacturer, or at least, the dealership.
However, most dealers are likely to fleece you while you try to get your airbag light fixed. Firstly, seek recommendations from your coworkers or friends, and check whether you have any established local mechanic to bail you out. Often, dealers try to make quick money by fixing something too simple. If that’s the case with your car, you can try and make some savings by hiring a certified mechanic.
Reasons for airbags light to come on?
Now, it’s time to explore the probable reasons that might cause your airbag’s light to flash or come on.
Malfunctioning clock spring
The airbag clock spring entwines in and out, considering the position of your steering wheel. This way, it maintains a constancy between the electrical wiring and the airbag around the driver’s seat. Sometimes, the thin circuit bands corrode or wear out due to constant use. Even when they become brittle, the driver’s airbag shows a soft-code error. This results in the flashing of the airbag light.
Unless you have a sophisticated scan tool, it would be challenging to detect the issue. Experts recommend consulting a professional mechanic to fix the clock spring issue.
Depleted battery backup
Once the airbag’s battery backup starts depleting, issues with your airbag light would start bothering you. Often, the car battery keeps draining, leading to such concerns.
Even when you have a fully charged battery, the problem might arise. Drivers need to use a scan tool to fix the issue, doing away with the airbag’s soft-code error.
In sophisticated cars, the supplemental restraint system comes with a plethora of components. There are various sensors connected to the ECM or PCM (main computer) of your car. Sometimes, one or multiple sensors might start malfunctioning. The computer of your car would detect the issue and you would notice the warning light of your airbag.
Wet or corroded airbag control module
In most cars, the manufacturers place the airbag control module below the seat of the front passenger or the driver. If you happen to expose your car to high water, the moisture starts taking a toll on the module. It would lead to corrosion or simply short out. This would eventually give you a diagnostic trouble code, and the airbag light on your dashboard would keep flashing.
Did you recently purchase a second-hand car? Or got the vehicle through an auction? Well, chances are high that the car was involved in an accident in the recent past. In case the previous owner didn’t care to fix the airbags properly, you would see the lights coming on. Any of the components, including the crash sensor, clock spring, or seat belt tensioner might need a replacement. Even after replacing all these components, the ECO of your car needs reprogramming.
As a driver or car owner, remember that airbags do not serve multiple times once you deploy them once. It’s utterly risky to drive with a deployed airbag, as they virtually become non-functional. If you happen to notice a flashing airbag light, don’t panic, and be swift enough to consult a mechanic. Don’t put yourself as well as the passengers at risk with a malfunctioning airbag light. Unless you have a professional hand, you’ll never know what’s wrong with your airbags.