Jetta Airbag Light


I took my 1996 Jetta GLS in for an intermittent starting problem to a local repair shop. They determined the problem as a bad starter. They replaced the starter three times without fixing the problem. Later they diagnosed it was a bad ignition switch. That seems to fixed the problem, but when they replaced the ignition switch the airbag light came on. I took it back for them to look at the airbag light and they returned it with the wires cut to the airbag light (when the airbag light didn’t come on and go off when starting the car my boyfriend pulled out the light and saw that the wires were cut). When my boyfriend called to ask why that fixed the problem they told him he didn’t know anything about cars, the airbag is fine and what they did saved me money. How do I know the airbag is fine? Is what they did legal? I’m fed up with getting the car fixed and I’m plan on trading in the car. Am I morally obligated to disclose this when I trade the car in?


Give them a call and ask them if they want to fix it right at no additional cost or do they want to talk to your lawyer.

Frankly I would not be surprised if intentionally disabling a safety device with out notifying the owner would be against the law in itself.  

If they don't respond properly, then contact a lawyer.


When they replaced the ignition switch, they had to tear down the steering column, a tricky job. In doing so, they messed up the wheel mounted air-bag connection. This causes a fault in the system which blows a non-replaceable fuse in the air-bag controller and makes the light come on. They “cured” the problem by cutting the wires (why not just remove the bulb?) Your air-bags are now disabled and will stay disabled until a DEALER repairs the system and replaces the controller. Around $800. Proving in court that the shop cut the wire might be difficult if they claim innocence…Motivated by a letter from your lawyer, maybe it won’t get to court…


These aren’t mechanics, bunch of crooks. They cut the wire to the lamp to turn it off. I will start taking pictures right now, try attaching the wires and document that the light is on. Then tell them either pay for the lawsuit or pay for a dealer to fix the problem. Honestly I would be very nervous about them working on my car ever again.


I agree that you should have a demand letter sent to these charlatans by an attorney. The fee for that letter should not be very expensive, and could be a good investment toward getting this resolved properly. And, for those of you on this board who tell people that they are “always better-off by going to an independent mechanic”, this is an excellent illustration that this is not necessarily valid advice. An independent mechanic will almost always be cheaper, but cheaper does not mean better.