As a car owner, you probably know what most of your dashboard lights mean. That blinking stick figure with the seatbelt across it means you need to buckle up. The half circle with the exclamation point in the middle means you should check your tire pressure. And, of course, you know when your car is low on gas or has its high beams or parking brake on. You see these signals often and know exactly what to do when you see them.

But one of the most important signals may be a mystery until it is lit up on your dashboard: the SRS light.


The Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) is the technical name for the system that controls the airbags and automatic seatbelt restraints. The SRS is meant to supplement to the basic function of seatbelts and is considered a passive restraint system–you don’t have to do anything to activate it. The system automatically detects things like deceleration, braking, impact location and if the passenger seat is occupied. Then it sends the information to the Airbag Control Unit, calculating which seatbelts to tighten and which airbags to deploy.

The SRS light looks like a side view of a buckled-up passenger with an airbag in front of it. In some cars, the letters “SRS” may light up as well. Each time you turn your car on, it undergoes a self-test sequence that illuminates all of the lights on the dashboard, the SRS signal included. After a few seconds, it should turn off, meaning the system is ready to go. However, if the SRS signal stays on or pops up while you are driving, this is an indication there is a problem with the system.


When the SRS warning light illuminates, there can be a number of possible causes. Some of them might be easy to spot, like a coin lodged in the latch of your seatbelt, while others may be harder find. Here are some of the most common issues:

● The seatbelt switch is malfunctioning
● The passenger seat sensor is broken
● The SRS backup battery is low
● There is corrosion from water damage
● The clock spring isn’t working
● The SRS computer needs to be replaced

Airbags are an important part of staying safe in your car, so you should leave the diagnosis and repairs to a qualified mechanic. The SRS can even produce a trouble code that will aid technicians in diagnosing the issue. In addition, you should check for any airbag or SRS recall notices on your vehicle, as the repairs may be covered by a recall or extended warranty.


Some dashboard warning signals indicate issues that need to be repaired before you can drive again. That isn’t the case with the SRS warning light. When it is illuminated, you’ll still be able to drive. However, doing so without a fully functioning airbag system can be life-threatening. If the warning light is on and you are in an accident, it is possible that your airbags will fail to deploy completely, putting you and your passengers at great risk for injury or death.

But there could be other repercussions beyond physical injury. Inside the SRS is something called a “black box” that records and stores accident data, similar to technology used on airplanes. The information recorded includes when the SRS warning light was triggered. If it is determined that warning light was on long before the accident, but you did not get it fixed, your insurance company may refuse to cover medical bills from injuries, costing you much more than a quick visit to the repair shop.


If your SRS warning light is on, it is important to take it seriously and get it fixed as soon as possible by a trusted, experienced technicianAutobahn Automotive has been providing first-rate services to the San Antonio and Longhorn, TX, areas for over 40 years. Not only can our team successful diagnose and repair the problem, but we will do so at an affordable price. Your safety is our top priority. If your SRS light is on, don’t wait. Call us right away.

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