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Air Bag Warning Light

I have a 2003 Corolla LE. The air bag light stays on all the time - this began about ten days ago. I had it checked at the local dealership and they identified the problem as “FOUND CODE B1181 - OPEN IN SQUIB CIRCUIT - TRACED WIRING BACK TO HORN ASSEMBLY POSSIBLE THAT IT NEEDS NEW HORN ASSEMBLY - $806.00 WOULD HAVE TO ORDER PARTS”.

It cost me $175.90 to get the diagnosis and I’m looking at a big charge if I proceed with a “possible” fix. Is there a less expensive way to deal with this? I’m concerned long term about not having an accurate reading of air bag function. We plan to pass the car on to our son, daughter-in-law and soon-to-be-born first granchild.

First of all, be aware that if the air bag warning light is on the airbags are disabled and will not function in a crash.

The dealer should be able to test any component they suspect is faulty and be SURE before they replace anything. The airbag system is very complex, and a fault anywhere within the system will trigger the light and deactivate the airbags.

I doubt there is anywhere you can go with an airbag problem other than the dealer.

Please also keep in mind that the airbag system is a supplemental system (SRS = Supplemental Restraint System) and only designed to deploy under a limited set of circumstances.

The seatbelts are still the primary restraint system. Your car is not “unsafe” if the airbag light is on (as long as you buckle up), but if you want the airbags to work you will have to repair the system.

Please read your warranty information very carefully. There may be a separate, longer warranty for the SRS.

I would also get a second opinion and estimate.

“open in squib circuit”. The airbag is located on the steering wheel. The steering wheel must turn (rotate). There usually is a “clockspring” connector that accommodates this rotation. It might be part of the horn assembly as it too must have a connector to accommodate wheel rotation.

Also, what usually happens, when a fault is detected, the air-bag module (controller) self-destructs (turning on the light and disabling the system) and this part too must be replaced.

Since body shops repair deployed air-bag systems all the time, they are quite good at it. You might check with one about repairing yours…Also, Google “airbag clockspring” and see what you can find…

Well dealers tend to be a lot more expensive than independent mechanics. This is not something that you need see a dealer about. However it is still not going to be cheap as it likely is going to involve some time to repair and a few not cheap parts.

Do read Caddyman’s response as it makes good sense.