CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Chrysler Pacifica Air Bag Light

The air bag light in my 2007 Chrylser Pacifica intermitantly lights up and beeps. I had it in for service in January and the seat belt pretensioner was replaced. Drove it off the service lot and the light went off again. Took it back in two days later and a orc module was shorting. The module was replaced and the car worked fine until recently. The air bag light is again intermitantly going off and beeping. Took it in again and in the middle of repair, the dealership lost is Chrysler franchise and could not complete repair. Took the Pacifica to a different authorized Chrylser and they wanted to do their own diagnostics. Of course, they found that the seat belt pre tensioner needed to be replaced. Drove off their lot and the light came on again. This new dealership seems to think that I am the problem, not the car or their service.I mean, why would a woman know anything about a car? Any ideas what this could be? I need help dealing with this new dealership as they are not customer friendly and my warranty will expire in about 2000 miles.

As your problem has been acknowledged but not correctly repaired before warranty expiration your warranty will be honered for this issue even after the time of warranty expiration.

What is the Dealer doing that makes you think that they think you are the problem and not the car? Is it perhaps they can’t duplicate the problem? If they can’t duplicate the problem they never should have attempted repairs,now they are stuck with it.

Thank you for releaving my mind about the warranty. The dealership has told me that they are pretty sure that Chrysler will take care of the problem when the Pacifica is no longer under warranty, so that had made me nervous. When I tried to pin them down about it, they told me “I can’t say what Chrysler will or won’t do.” I have kept all of my paperwork for the previous repairs, thank heavens. So I do have documentation of the repair.

When I called the dealer after leaving their service lot and told them that the light came on again, I was told that it shouldn’t have happened and that they had checked everything out. When I persisted and said the light came on and I wanted to get this figured out, the service man asked me if I was calling to make another appointment because everything on the car had checked out ok when they test drove it. I think it might be time to talk to a manager, but not with the intent of complaining. I just want to get the car fixed.

I am also trying to educate myself as far as how these airbag lights work, so I will be prepared when I talk to the service department. I am also concerned about safety. I am assuming that the airbag will not deploy if the light is on.

Visit this site for an in-depth explanation of how they work.
And keep your copies of all the shop orders.

The entire airbag system, including the dash light, is controlled by an “airbag module”. If the module has disabled the airbags for any reason, the light comes on. In older systems, when the module (a pre-programmed micro-processor and its support circuitry) detected a fault in the system, it destroyed itself by blowing a non-replaceable fuse which disabled the airbags and caused the light to come on and stay on. Newer systems might be more sophisticated and have the ability to reset themselves once the fault is corrected…Good Luck…

Thank you all for your great information.

I received a call from the service department last night. They have found a bad connector. The wiring all looks good, but the ‘connector’ is causing the problem - bad connection, thus power sometimes goes thru the wiring, sometimes not. It seems to me that electrical issues can be hard to pinpoint, I am hoping this is the root of the issue.

The only thing that doesn’t make sense to me (and my limited mechanical knowledge may stump me here) is why would the pre tensioner have gone bad. Could the power surging on and off through the system cause this? And the orc module shorting too? Or is it possible that the whole system is just bad…?

“electrical issues can be hard to pinpoint”

In defense of us electronickers, INTERMITTENT issues, whether electrical or mechanical, are hard to find. The mechanical guys with whom I used to work would declare a faulty switch or connector “an electrical problem”. To me, they were mechanical problems – the mechanical pieces were failing. :>)

I have no real knowledge about these pieces, but I suspect that the pre-tensioner(s) had not really failed. The shops were getting bogus diagnoses because of the intermittent electrical connector. And I have no idea what an orc module is. MAYBE the power glitching on and off thru the intermittent connector caused it to fail, but, again, I think false dignosis (or maybe spontaneous coincident failure) is more likely.

Anyhow, it seems that they actually solved the problem – and under warranty! Congratulations.

You make a good point.

I agree with you that maybe the pre tensioner is not the problem also.

Thanks for your comments

I went to pick up the car from the dealers service lot yesterday afternoon after they replaced the bad connector and test drove it around curves and speed bumps. The airbag light came on when I started it up. I thought I was hallucinating. I turned it off and started it up again, sure enough the airbag light came on. Now I am sure at this point you are thinking that the light should come on at start up, but it stayed on steady until I turned the car off.

The service man at the dealership hooked it up to their computer scanner. Guess what? bad pre tensioner! At this point I have to laugh…what else can I do. Any ideas out there?

They scheduled the car for service again. They also confirmed that when the airbag light is on the airbag system for the entire car is off. This is disconcerting. The airbag light is on almost steady now, instead of intermitantly. I know that we still have seat belts, just would like the airbags too.

Perhaps something good can come of this steady airbag light,easier to fix a steady problem than a intermittent one.