Air bag light in my 2003 Escape

Help! The air bag warning light came on in our 2003 Ford Escape. We took it into the dealership, and after the $100+ diagnostic, they told us they are going to have to remove both front seats and check the wiring (something about a prefastener?), to the tune of $650 bucks. And then they can hook it back up to the diagnostic machine (another $100) and hopefully that will have fixed the problem. Now, at the risk of sounding naive, are they just trying to rip me off? Can I fix the possible wiring problem myself? Can I just keep driving it, maybe ignore the warning light?

First, consider that independent mechanics can do this kind of work and are usually as good (maybe better) at it then the dealer. The dealer will almost always charge more and to take the more expensive repair procedure. I suggest you get a second opinion from a local independent mechanic.

Second, remember that you do have a choice. Having air bags not functioning does increase your risk of serious injury a little, but very little if you have your seat belts on. Personally I would and have had mine fixed, but there is that option.

I have a Ford Ranger that does that all the time, and so far the solution is very simple. Underneath the seats you will find a plug, disconnect and connect a couple of times in order to clean the pins. It is a bith uncomfortable, but it can be done. This solves the problem everytime for me.

You can also buy a contact cleaner for this, but if disconncting and connecting solves it, why spend the money.

Thanks. I wiggled the connection a little, light went off, no problems. Tried to tell the wife that I now have $650 for a new fly rod, as I saved it on the car repairs. She’s not buying it…

That’ll be a nice fly rod.

I had the same problem under my drivers seat too in my2000 Silhouette. Pulled the connector apart, sprayed with electrical contact cleaner and applied a (little) bit of dielectric grease before reconnecting and fault solved permanently. That was three years ago.