4 Causes Airbag Light Comes On and Minimum Speed for Airbag Deployment


There are a variety of different warning lights on the dashboard of a vehicle. Most people will only see them illuminate when there is a particular problem with their vehicle that is indicated by that light. Whether you know it or not, you have probably already seen the airbag light illuminate without even realizing it.

For example, when you get into your vehicle and start up your engine, you may see a warning light that is reminding you to put your seatbelt on. In some model cars, the seatbelt light is the same as the airbag light. This means people are familiar with seeing this light as a warning about their seatbelt. They are not used to seeing it as a warning about airbags. As a result, they may want to just ignore this light if it comes on without realizing that it is referring to a problem with the airbags and not the seatbelt. 

If you have your seatbelt on and the airbag light is still illuminating, then you should not ignore this light because it will definitely mean that something is wrong with the airbags in your vehicle. It is important that you fix whatever problem there is with your airbag system because airbags are what may save your life if you get into a car accident. You don’t want to find out the hard way whether your airbags work or not.

The Average of Minimum Speed for Airbag Deployment

Airbags are designed for deployment when you front collision with another vehicle or solid barrier, or at least one that is near frontal. However, in order for the airbags to deploy, the minimum speed that you need to be driving during your collision is between 8 mph and 14 mph. Most people are driving way above these speeds when they crash, like between 35 mph and 60 mph.  The faster you’re going during a collision, the more that you’ll need an airbag to save your life.

Read also: 5 Symptoms of a Bad Torque Converter and Replacement Cost

The Top 4 Causes

Below are the top 4 causes of an airbag light coming on:

Airbag Deactivated – The most common cause for the airbag light coming on is that the airbag system is deactivated or turned off. There may be a few reasons for this which you had no control over. For instance, if you have already gotten into a car accident and the airbags deployed, you need to go to the mechanic and get your airbag system reset. Otherwise, your airbag system won’t get reactivated on their own. Another reason for deactivation could simply be that there is a glitch in the crash sensors.

Seatbelts – Like previously mentioned, not putting on your seatbelt could cause the airbag light to come on. But there could be other seatbelt issues that may cause this light to come on as well. Perhaps your seatbelt does not snap securely into the buckle and stay in place. Maybe there is a problem with the sensors in the buckle and they don’t accurately tell the computer that you have fastened your seatbelt.

Small Accident – It is possible to get into a small car accident that doesn’t deploy your airbags, but it still causes the crash sensors to activate. This means your airbag light will stay on until you go to the auto shop and have it reset by the technician. A small accident may be a situation where you hit something with the front of your vehicle while you’re driving at under 8 mph. The crash sensors tend to be sensitive to any type of accident no matter how big or small. 

Water Damage – If the internal components of your vehicle have water damage for whatever reason, then corrosion may form on the crash sensors of your airbag system. This corrosion will distort their ability to function properly and it could result in the airbag light coming on.


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