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

SRS light on - will bags deploy?

My SRS light is always on (related to ‘erratic gage cluster’ problem). Question - will the bags deploy in the event of an accident if the light is on??? I never considered this before - just thought it was an inconvenience of the gage problem. I had the light reset once, but the minute the car is off and it sits, the light goes on and the gages go offline. Safety issue??

You don’t say the year,I would be more comfortable giving a opinion on a early system,which would be no. My most current textbook (2006) says “Depending on the fault,the SIR system MAY be disarmed until the fault is corrected”.

Your air bag may not deploy,you need to get the system scanned to see if it is a fault that would inhibit deployment.

2001 Civic (DX??). I had it reset once, but didn’t know to ask if it would function if it went off again. I’ll ask next time I have it in for an oil change. Thanks!!

When the light SRS light is on that means something is wrong in the SRS system and the bags won’t deploy. In your case since you had problems with the guage cluster the reason for the light is unknown. You have to assume the bags won’t work until you have fixed the problem.

Thank you both, sincerely. It didn’t even occur to me to ask until I happened upon a thread on this site, and you both clarified the possible severity of ignoring the light. I will make an appt. to have it checked.

In almost all cases, when the SRS warning light is on the airbag system is disabled, and will not deploy in the event of an accident.

When you turn the ignition to “on” the SRS light should illuminate. While the light is on the SRS computer is going through a self-diagnostic test. If all is well the light goes off a few seconds after the engine is started. If the light stays on there is a problem somewhere in the SRS system, and it will not operate.

If you want the airbags to function you’ll have to have the SRS computer scanned and replace the faulty components.

Thank you mcparadise. I’m going to bring it in - sooner, rather than the later I had originally planned (wait for an oil change to be due…). Glad I asked the question!