AIRBAG light came on 2001 Bettle


the airbag just came on last night? What is this about. I bought this car after it had been sitting without a battery for a month, but the only light that came on when I saw the car was the brake light, now three weeks later, this light came on. What am I missing- is this going to cost me?


Impossible to say with the info given. The air bag system uses a controller that monitors the air bag and the sensors that make up the entire system. The controller has detected a fault in the system, and turned off the air bag system. So, if your in an accident, the air bags will not inflate. You will need to go to a dealer or independant body shop to have the diagnostic codes retrieved to determine what the fault is. They can also let you know how much to fix.


Troubleshooting the airbag system is usually a job for the dealer. Nobody else has the scanners to diagnose the system. In many cars, the control module that monitors and arms the airbags self-destructs when it turns the warning light on. This disables the system and prevents an unwanted deployment. Once the fault is found and repaired, the last step is replacing the rather expensive module, which re-arms the system…

People drove cars for 80 years without airbags and survived and so can you. Your seat belt is your primary protection, not the air-bag…

Well I agree that you should get the car's computer scanned to see why the light is on.  I believe a standard scanner will pick up the airbag codes.  Since you can usually get a free scan at many auto part stores like Advanced Auto Parts and Autozone, that should be your first stop.  Get the exact code like P0123 not just the English translation.  

It is possible that the general purpose scanner will not pick up the air bag codes. I don’t remember for sure. If that is the case you need to have it scanned by a VAGCOM which is a special VW scanner. The dealers have them and some shops have them. They are likely to charge you for the scan, but right now you have no air bags and not having air bags is really not good.

If the standard scanner does not pick it up I suggest that you stop by They have a list of people who have the scanners and may be willing to scan it for you. It is a TDI (Diesel) group, but even if you don’t have a diesel someone may be willing to help you out and save you a few $$$. You might also look for more generic VW group and try there.

In any case, I suspect you are going to end up having some work done unless you are an advanced DIYer. If you don’t know what you are doing you can have one of those bags blow up in your face as you are working on them.

BTW with the exception of the more advanced computer that is storing the error codes, the air bag system is much the same as on all other cars and it is likely something like a sensor which are usually not expensive.


Will take it to Autozone see if they can help thanks will keep you posted


HELP HELP HELP. I went to autozone here is my first experience. the first autozone, the guy say my airbags are probably old and need to be replaced, I had a puzzled look on my face because I would of never expected an answer like that. He said they were probably old and needed to be replaced. I asked for the computer to put on it, and he said the check engine light had to be on.
second autozone, much better. I got the computer and at the same time I noticed the positive battery terminal was cracked, so I replaced that on the spot thanks to their help, then the computer gave me a code P0445, the prinout said the following:
1-purge or vent soleniods defective
2-check connector and wiring ( which I had just done)
3-fuel saturated vapor canister
4- failed EVAP vent soleniod
I also noticed the slip said OEM BRAND: Domestic
I started the engine and for a second the light as off then on again. The lady at autozone did not know how to use the sensor machine, should we have put that it was an import? any suggestions?


First off airbags do not get “old” and need replaced. Second the code P0445 is a powertrain code §. At this point it can be ignored because the “Check Engine Light” is not on. It could be an old code that was not cleared. The scanners that you find at Autozone and Schucks are not capable of communicating with the airbag module. I am afraid the only way to find out why the light is on will be visiting a VW dealer. This does not mean that you need to have the dealer repair it just scan it for codes. You might also try calling local repair shops and ask if they have the ability to scan your vehicle. I had to pay extra to get the German information for my MODIS. If you have a local repair shop that works on BMW, Mercedes, etc. they may be able to scan it as well. Hope it helps.


michael, the check engine came on and then went off after one day/ When you say powertrain am I looking at a transmission problem?


It does not mean you have a transmision problem. OBD-2 codes are broken down into sections.
P-Codes = powertrain (engine & transmision)
B-Codes = Body Codes (Heater, Lights, Power Windows, anti theft, airbag, etc…)
C-Codes = Chasis codes (AWD, 4x4, ABS, Traction controll)
U-codes = Undefined (Usually communication & manufacturer specific codes)
Code P0445 Breaks down like this:
4=emission control
45= Purge control valve circuit voltage

Time for setting the DTC
When the canister purge solenoid circuit is in a short to battery or short to ground state.
Task boosted after DTC sets
The Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) will glow after three successive trips with a fail.
When will DTC clear?
The MIL will turn off after four consecutive ignition cycles in which the diagnostic runs without a fault.

Hope this helps.


yes thank you so much I understand now, I have been torn between selling and keeping this vehicle as much as I like it, there are other issues cosmetic wise that are also constantly wrong with it, but knowing what I know now with your information, I feel I can sell it at a reasonable price without having someone tell me it is a junker. You were extremely helpful. thank you for your time