SRS light on, loads of dirt dust behind dash and panels.. help

2008 honda accord coupe ex-l

So, I assisted my sister in finding my nephew a used car and everything looked great on the surface as well as mechanical. We get the car home and the SRS light comes on… I started digging into why and find there is dirt dust all behind the dash and side panels around airbags in back and pretty much everywhere below the surface.

Digging into the service records I see they did have to replace a fender liner which might have been a port of entry for all the dirt and dust. Apparently the young driver was putting in mileage on dry dirt roads without a fender liner.

I did caution against buying this car previously, even before looking at it, because it was a teenage driver, there was a minor wreck into driver’s door and repairs had to be made for him running up on a curb as well. But in their desperation for a car… they asked me to check out the mechanics of it… i did… they looked good… but I missed all this dirt dust and now i feel bad.

Anyways, I need advice on how to go about cleaning out all this dirt dust behind the dash, and panels of the car? I worried if I leave it there, he will experience additional expensive electronic issues.

Was thinking of taking off some side panels and dash off, and using a vacuum with a brush head to try and get it… I could use compressed air… but perhaps that may be potentially harmful to other electronics and connections?

As for the SRS light, i was able to count the light flashes in dash to get code 8-3 off of the flashing SRS light and a 7-1 off the ABS light. Referencing those: “Internal Failure of SRS unit”. Think i will have to get a professional to help diagnose this.

Any suggestions are welcomed, Thanks.

SRS means Secondary Restraint System (usually referring to the Air-Bag system).

Make, Model, Model-Year?

its a 2008 accord coupe ex-l

Are you sure this car wasn’t flooded?

Yea, no rust/water damage… kid just drove it on dry dirt roads

How do you know this? Flood cars are notorious for being passed off as non-flood cars.

I used to live on a dirt road. Drove on it every day. I never had that much dust in the car, and this was way before cabin filters were used.

Cars that are dirty as hell underneath the surfaces and have weird electrical symptoms are prime suspects for having been in a flood.

Helping someone choose a vehicle is a no win situation.

I found a comment in a service record about the fender liner missing and dirt penetrating into engine compartment and comment on dirt filled air filter along with in cabin air filter. Its all real fine and dry particulate.

I hope it wasnt a flood.

So, unfortunately we are stuck with the car now… So you suppose I should try and make the best of it by removing panels and dash and vacuuming what i can? Think using compressed air around electronics or connectors would be bad? Think i found a mechanic to diagnose SRS problem, but i dont want the problems to reoccur.

Just fix the SRS problem. If the sister and nephew are not concerned about the dust the car may not ( or may ) last long. If the dust is a concern check with a detail shop that way you can’t be blamed for future problems.

Thanks Volvo V70, removing that dust would be quite a job and responsibilty. Thinking I will recommend they get a quote from a detail shop or the like to potentially save $$ on electronic diagnostics in the future. If its too expensive, guess we will have to deal with issues as they popup.

I don’t think the detail shop would accept responsibility for electrical problems. And I can’t see them cleaning behind the dash.

I’d vacuum it out.

No Bill, the detail shop will not accept responsibility for future problems nor should they. But at least the OP will not have to explain he did not mess something up.