Airbag warning lights post-defibrillation

This morning, while preparing to leave the house enroute to my 0300 start in the local Trauma Center, I discovered my Saturn Vue had a dead battery. So I have two questions:

  1. As my car has in the past automatically turned off interior lights and headlights when left on, what the hell happened to cause the battery to die?
  2. After I defibrillated (errr, jump started) the car, the airbag light remained lit while driving to work. When I went back out to check the fuse after punching in I found that the light was out when I started the car. Does this mean the system is now working as needed, or should I still have it checked out.

I have a great idea. At break time, go out to your car and try and find the owner’s manual. Now keep it with you and start reading it from cover to cover. There are likely a lot of things you should know about your car that you don’t yet know, but are in that book.

I would guess you have seen many people in the trauma center who are there because they did not bother to read or follow, the instructions that came with a car or appliance.

Not all cars are the same and I don’t have a Vue, so all I can suggest is to read the manual.

BTW once you kill a battery, you may be able to return it to service, but it is not going to last all that long, have your battery tested even if it seems to be working.

I too am a firm advocate of car owners gaining familiarity with their owners manual. However, these books are of no help in diagnosing malfunctions or general quirky situations. You have a real problem and you should investigate.

Quite likely it was a one-time incident, perhaps not closing a car door firmly so that the interior lights continued to burn. Or maybe the trunk or glove box was left open, same result. Failure to start would not be the result of a malfunction, merely owner carelessness. It has happened to us all.

You can consider having your car’s electrical system checked out. Some auto parts stores will do this for free. Locate AutoZone or Advance Auto in your region. They may detect a problem with your battery or alternator.

As for the airbag, the lack of a lit warning light suggests your airbag system is currently working properly.

What killed the battery? Who knows. How old is it? If it is more than 4 years old, it is possible it has reached the end of it’s servicable life. If it works fine day to day, but dies if parked more than a day or two, the battery could need to be replaced.

As for the air bag, it is common to have false error codes show up when jump-starting cars. The air bag system and many other modules go through a self-check at start-up. If a false error happens, caused by a misread sensor due to the voltage fluctuations for example, the light will go on. If on the next start-up, an error is not detected, the light will go back off.

Thanks for the feed back guys, an update. I read the owners manual when I buy a car, so I took care of that in 2008. I was looking for specific info about the airbag. Good news is that the airbag system light went off, so I think all is well there. The bad news is that I’ve had to jump the car three times now. I work a few minutes from work so last night I let it idle in the driveway for 30 minutes after I got home in the hopes that it charged up, but this morning it’s dead again. I’m going to take it to a shop… gasp! Thanks again!

Sounds like you may need a new battery…