Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Humidity affects the sensor of my 2002 Dodge caravan

A mechanic diagnosed my car and said the passenger side pre-tensioner circuit is open. He only used a device to clear the error code making the airbag light on. He said if the light on again, I have to fix the car. To replace it will cost me at least $432.

The light has been on and off many times. It seems when the weather in Minnesota is hot and lots of sunshine, the light won’t be on. However the light will be likely on after heavy rain or thunderstorms over night. I think the humidity affects the sensors of the car not the seat belt pre-tensioner unit. Any one have any idea or experience about the humidity could affect the sensors in the car?


No offense, but it is always the customer that trys to link the weather to their cars ills, I have never figured out why this is so common. Why would you not be more inclined to believe that a wire has become broken, pinched, or chaffed? these are all failures I have actually seen.

Actually, if the sensor is compromised, like a cracked housing, intermittent failures like this are common. However, the fix is usually still replacing the sensor. Once they have failure modes, they are never again reliable. Total failure is imminent.

Shop around. Check to see if the pre-tensioner has to be replaced or if the sensor can be removed and replaced from your existing pre-tensioner. Also, check prices from internet sources to see if the mechanic’s price is reasonable (don’t forget to consider the labor charge required).

The minivan forum at is devoted to Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth minivans and may be a good place to post your question. I visit that site from time to time and have gottten good advice re: my 99 Voyager.

Maybe this applies to your vehicle:

“312,400 2005-2006 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan minivans [recalled] due to a problem with the front crash sensors. Those sensors may crack under certain colder weather conditions and cause the air bag not to operate effectively.”
– Consumer Reports, May 2010

Sometimes a problem that results in a recall is also present in vehicles outside the strict parameters of the recall. A dealer, or the manufacturer, may cover the repair costs even if a vehicle is not in the official recall. Worth a try, anyway. If there are dealers nearby, you might inquire if they are aware of the recall, have replaced those sensors under the recall, etc. If so, present your situation and ask if your car could be checked for the same problem. If you have the same problem as in the recall, maybe they can cover the repair costs (or partly cover them).