The SRS light refers to supplemental restraint system which is also known as airbag system light. It is a computerized system that is designed to deploy airbags that cover the driver and passengers whenever there is an impact. The system tightens seat belts protecting all the passengers from physical injuries when a high magnitude impact from collision takes place.
The system is passive and when an impact is felt it automatically activates itself protecting the car occupants. Before starting the journey, you need to fasten the seat belt for it to function correctly. The same case applies to seat belts that use an automatic system which must be latched manually.
Reasons Why the SRS Light is on
Before you drive out of your parking lot, check whether all parts of the car are functional. Driving a car while the SRS light is on means the difference between your life and death.
The reasons behind the illuminated airbag are several, and it is your responsibility to check them out before the unexpected happens.
The airbag is connected to a clock spring that connects the driver’s seat and the electrical wiring which triggers the airbag. Thin circuits make the spring clock which helps in sending the signals to the system. However, after some time, they brittle or fray causing the bags to send an error report to the computer system which produces an alternating light.
Airbag lights fail to turn off when your car battery is empty of energy. This happens when the charging system encounters a mechanical problem which can solve by recharging the battery. In case it persists, use of a scanning tool can help remove the soft-code errors that switch the light on.
The airbag light can go on when the control module is corroded or wet. Most of the cars have the control module set underneath the driver’s seat or on that of a front passenger. The parts get corroded when you expose them to water sending wrong information to the dashboard.
From regular use or mechanical failure, the seat belt switches become faulty leading to the error recording on the system. When nickel or other things fall in the buckle, it interferes with the switch sending wrong signals to the computer. This puts on the SRS light, and a few adjustments can solve the issue.
Steps to Take when the SRS Light Goes on
All vehicles illuminate their SRS lights for about 5 seconds when the car is started to run a self-test sequence. The light disappears within a few seconds assuring you that it is safe to drive. However, if the airbag light does not go off, it means that something is wrong and needs to be checked.
The appearance of the airbags light on the dashboard should not make you start panicking. It’s a form of awareness that will make you realize that there is a situation which needs your attention. What you can do now is to have your vehicle diagnosed with an OBD Scanner, which will tell you why the warning light keeps coming on.
After the diagnosis, you will realize what needs repair, and this will help you make the right decision. Minimal repairs like resetting the crash sensor can give you some peace of mind because it is not costly. Get the repairs done by an experienced repair expert to avoid a repeat of the sensor malfunctioning.
Spoilt airbag sensors will need a replacement for them to go back to their functional state. However, fitting all the airbags with the sensors is expensive and could cost you handsomely. If the cost of repair is too high, think of disposing of the car before it becomes an open can of worms.
Finally, before you dispose of the car, check whether the vehicle has an SRS or airbag recall notice from the manufacturer. A warranty or recall notice can cover these repairs, and all you have to do is find out from the car distributor.
Is it Wise to Drive with the SRS Light on?
Blinking or permanent SRS light on the dashboard means that something is wrong and you need to consider it as serious. Although the car is driveable, its safety is compromised and can put your life and that of your loved ones at risk when an accident occurs.
Insurance companies reduce their medical coverage bills when they realize that the airbag system was malfunctioning when the incident occurred. The computer module has a black box similar to that found on planes which record useful information about the car. These include the speed, force, and some seat belts that were latched at the time of the incident.
Therefore, avoid driving with the SRS light on because you might be heading to your graveyard. There are slim chances that the airbags would be functional with the lights on. It is advisable that you seek the attention of professional to get the car diagnosed and fixed immediately.
The SRS computerized system evaluates data sent in by sensors from steering system, motion, vehicle speed, seat belt and angle sensors. The system chooses which seat belt it will tighten and airbag it will deploy when the enabling criteria is met. As such, it safeguards the car occupants from slamming or hitting their body parts on the dashboard and the steering wheel.
Repair costs will depend on the type of repair that will be done after a proper diagnosis. If the airbag experiences faulty switches or sensors, it will not cost much. Airbags that got deployed during a collision will need replacement which might cost you a fortune.
All cars are fitted with safety features, and SRS light is one of them. Just like you keep a close look at the engine oil light, keep on checking the airbags light. It takes a few minutes to fasten the seat belts and a few hours to have it diagnosed by professionals.
Airbags save lives when the passengers have their seat belts fastened appropriately. Get your airbags diagnosed and inspected after some time by professionals from trusted repair shops. The amount of money used in such inspections and repairs cannot be compared to lost lives or injuries obtained from accidents.