Reasons Behind the Airbag Malfunction Light Activating in a Volkswagenby Dutch Silverstein March 13, 2020
When people think of high-quality European vehicles, Volkswagen is a name that carries a lot of respect. From the Beetle to the Golf, Volkswagen are the creators of some of the world’s most iconic cars, but even the best quality machines can have faults, and Volkswagen vehicles are no different. Let’s look at the airbag system and discuss why they may malfunction.
A vehicle’s Supplementary Restraint System (SRS), more commonly known as an airbag, is designed as a single-use safety measure. This is only deployed in the event of a crash. Because of the design and nature of how it’s deployed, there is no way for drivers to physically maintain or visually check them for faults. In order to manage this important component of your car, vehicles are designed to “self-diagnose” the SRS system every time the vehicle is started.
When starting your vehicle, a number of lights on the dashboard will illuminate for a few seconds as part of the vehicle’s integrated computer safety systems. If there are no faults detected, the lights will reset and no longer shine.
Spotting which light indicates the status of the airbag will depend on the age and type of vehicle. Most vehicles display an image of a driver with the airbag deploying, but in some, it will display the letters “SRS”. Alternatively, some vehicles will display the words “Airbag”, “Airbag Off” or “Airbag Deactivated” instead. If the airbag light remains on once all others have gone out, your vehicle has detected a fault and should be serviced as soon as possible for your safety and that of your passengers.
Common Causes of Airbag Malfunction
- Warning lights are part of the vehicle’s integrated safety systems, but the fault might not be with the airbag itself. Seat belts, the computer, and the associated wiring are all interconnected. So it’s possible the warning light might have detected a failure in the seat belt, triggering a false-warning. Checking that your seat belt is properly fastened and that there’s nothing interfering with the switch may resolve the issue.
- An electrical device called a clockspring in a vehicle’s steering wheel is designed to allow the steering wheel to turn while maintaining the connection between the vehicle’s airbag, horn, and other electrical systems. A damaged clockspring will prevent a vehicle’s airbag from deploying. This is a common defect in some older vehicles, and also vehicles built in the year 2015, causing Volkswagen to recall 416,000 cars as a result. This fault not only prevents the airbag from deploying but also deactivates the horn and a number of controls on the steering wheel.
- If a vehicle has been in a minor crash and the airbag hadn’t deployed, this might have triggered the vehicle’s “crash sensors”. This will cause the airbag warning lights to illuminate, meaning the airbag will need to be reset so that it can deploy, should a crash occur.
- Flood damage or a water leak can cause corrosion in the vehicle’s computer. This can prevent the computer from reading the status of the airbag, causing the warning light to turn on. This could also prevent the airbag from deploying.
The airbag is an important part of your vehicle’s safety systems to protect you and your passengers. Ensuring that it is able to deploy, should you become involved in a collision, will make all the difference. While it’s not uncommon for drivers to ignore the illumination of the airbag warning light, auto experts recommend you should immediately seek assistance from a qualified auto-technician should the light come on.
A&M Auto Service Will Help
One of our technicians will diagnose the problem by attaching a device to a portal under the dashboard that will scan your vehicle’s computer. Scans of this type can reveal as many as 500 different codes. So, it is important to have a professional carry out these scans, especially on newer vehicles, because we will be able to quickly research and verify what’s wrong to create a plan for repairs.
At A&M Auto Service, we’re proud to offer our customers dealership-quality repairs. We invest in the latest equipment to diagnose and repair your Volkswagen, and our technicians regularly attend factory training seminars to remain on the cutting edge of automotive repairs and maintenance. Call us today or come by if you are in the Pineville, NC area and surrounding communities. We look forward to becoming your trusted Volkswagen service center.