Air Bag light on problem

My service engine soon light came on so I took it to a dealership and they said that a sensor was out that regulates the temperature of my engine so I let them replace it. The minute I drove off their parking lot, my Air Bag light comes on and starts blinking and dinging. I take it back and ask them why it was doing that and they hook it up to their computer to scan for the code and said that I need more work done involving $$$$. This had never ever been a problem until they worked on my car. They say that it is just a coincidence that it happened right after I left their parking lot. I am think that while they were under the hood that something triggered this to happen. What are your expert opinions? Thanks!!

What code did they pull for the air bag?? I doubt very highly changing a coolant temp sensor on the engine damaged anything in the SRS. I would note the code then try resetting it.


The first course of action with any failure code is to note it and then reset it and see if it comes back. That should not cost very much. They are in the business of selling service work, so that is what they are doing.

On my old BMWs, jambing the seat belt buckle tab in at an odd angle will cause the SRS light to illuminate and set a code. I replaced a couple of seat belt buckles until I realized that it is the nature of the beast, nothing wrong with the buckles.

While there may not be any connection I wonder if they may have bumped or pulled a while when they were replacing it.

  Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car.  They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies.  They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent. 

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee.  During the warranty period be sure to have all required (as listed in the owner's manual) maintenance done and to document all maintenance work.

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic. 

Note: Never ever use a quick oil change place. They are fast cheap and very very bad.

They did tried resetting it and it came back on. I never had one single problem with the air bag light coming on in the past. They showed me where they replaced the sensor and then showed me the location of the air bag sensor. Still, in my opinion it is too much of a coincidence that it happened at the very same time they serviced my car? Isn’t it?

Thank you very much for the great information above. I really appreciate it and it makes sense. At the bottom of my page on this car talk site the is an advertistment for $49.00 Airbag Modules Reset kit. I wasn’t in a wreck so the airbags are deployed but wondering if this would fix the problem? Also, they told me right now if I didn’t get it fixed and I was in a wreck the airbags won’t deploy!

No, the $49 reset kit won’t correct the problem you have.
Yes, your airbags will not work in a wreck.

I think that you are just the victim of an unfortunate coincidence. Such coincidences are rare, but they do happen.