Want To Keep Your Airbag Working? Look Out For These Four Common Issues

The airbag is one an essential safety feature of your car. Just like other parts of your vehicle, the airbag can break down and fail to protect you when you need it. It pays to be aware of some of the common problems that plague airbags. Here are four examples:

Malfunctioning Seat Belt

The airbags are part of the safety systems in your car, which also includes the seatbelts. The seatbelt is supposed to hold you back so that you aren't too close to the steering wheel (that houses the airbag) when the airbag deploys. A malfunction in one part of the system may trigger false warning lights in other parts. Therefore, something unrelated to the airbag, such as a faulty seatbelt sensor, may trigger the airbag lights. The same thing can happen if the seatbelt doesn't click when you fasten it. Therefore, it's wise to check the seatbelt switch for a stuck object, such as a coin, if the airbag light is on.

Faulty Clockspring

The driver's airbag is housed in the steering wheel. The airbag needs to maintain an electrical connection with other parts of the car, such as the onboard computer. At the same time, the steering wheel must be turned when controlling the car. The airbag is fitted with a spiral-wound electrical connector to enable these two things to happen concurrently, which is known as the clockspring. If the clockspring breaks, then the airbag stops functioning, and the warning light comes on.

Triggered Crash Sensors

A minor crash that doesn't result in a full airbag deployment may also trigger the lights. This may happen when your car's crash sensors (that collect data that the computer uses to decide when to deploy the airbag) are triggered, but the warning signals aren't strong enough to activate the airbag. The good news is that a mechanic can easily correct the problem by resetting the airbag.

Computer Malfunction

A malfunction in the onboard computer, plus its numerous sensors, may also trigger the airbag light. Such a fault may occur, for example, if you drive the car through a flooded road (or in the rain), and the water manages to reach these critical parts. In such cases, professional diagnosis is necessary to pinpoint the source of the problem.

It's never a good idea to ignore an airbag fault, even if you think it's minor. Leave the decision to a professional mechanic who can diagnose and fix the fault. 

For professional auto service, contact a company such as Transmissions Northwest.