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SRS sensor

I have a 2002 Honda Civic EX. The SRS light has been coming on once in a while since I bought it (from a person, not a dealer). I’ve taken it to the dealership for maintenance once a year since I bought it in 2004. The first 2 times they said it was a glitch and just turned off the light, then the next time they tell me it’s because the sensor located in the driver’s side seat belt buckle isn’t registering that the seat belt is indeed buckled- therefore the airbag won’t go off if I crash and so I need to get a new seat belt buckle for $150. I don’t know if I buy this and I’ve found nothing in my internet searches thus far. My question is- if the seat belt isn’t registering as “buckled” why is the seat belt light and alarm not coming on? Also, is the airbag really only going to work if the seat belt is buckled? Seems to me it’s impact that sets those off, regardless of seatbelt. You could argue that the seatbelt being buckled turns the airbag on because it indicates there’s someone seated there, but seeing as this is the DRIVER’S seat, if the car is moving fast enough to set off the airbag on impact it’s a reasonable assumption that someone is sitting there!! I can find no information out there as to just how these things operate in this car and I don’t trust the dealer to tell me the truth, anyone know?

I don’t know the relationship between the seatbelt and the airbag, but I do know this: if the SRS light is on the airbag is disabled, and will not function in a crash. If the light is off everything should work as designed.

This is a description from ALLDATA on the seatbelts. They have to be buckled because they automatically retract in a collision.

Seat Belt and Seat Belt Buckle Tensioners

The seat belt and seat belt buckle tensioners are linked with the SRS airbags to further increase the effectiveness of the seat belt. In a front-end collision, the tensioners instantly retract the belt and buckle firmly to secure the occupants in their seats.

For the SRS to operate:

Seat Belt Tensioners and Seat Belt Buckle Tensioners

A front impact sensor must activate and send electric signals to the microprocessor.
The microprocessor must compute the signals and send them to the tensioners.
The charges must ignite and deploy the tensioners.

Other than checking the connection, you might be stuck with buying the buckle assembly.

Thanks, you guys. You’ve helped make more sense of this thing- my seat belt has a tendency to not retract when unbuckled, too, so the tensioner connection rings true.I was leery of these guys, after an incident where they wanted to replace the entire front of my car to fix the broken hood latch (later welded very nicely by another mechanic for $1400 less)and I just wanted to be sure of the legitimacy of this thing before doing it. I appreciate the information.

Dealers will always replace parts/assemblies rather than repair/weld them. They are good for some things, not for others.

Does your Civic have the side impact airbags?

I have 2003 with the side impact bags and if you sit too close to the door a light goes on to show the side airbags will not go off. If you seat up straight in the seat the light goes off and all is normal. These side bags are an option in 2003, not sure if they were available as an option in 2002. There is a yellow sticker on the door jam of drivers and passenger doors on my car indicating side impact airbags are installed on the car.

It is probably the seat belt thing, but if your car has the side impact airbags that triggers a light too. FYI.