You might be driving around and notice the dash turns on the airbag light, meaning it’s time to diagnose the airbag system. If the airbag light is on in your GM vehicle, find out a common cause of this problem and how to fix it yourself with these tips.
Meaning of the Airbag Light On
If the airbag light is on in your vehicle, this means the airbag may not deploy during a collision. If you own a GM vehicle with this problem, the air bag light is commonly on because of a problem with an airbag sensor.
How to Diagnose an Airbag Light on a GM Vehicle
You may have a message on your dash, like below, indicating you need to service the airbag.
Steps to diagnose an airbag light in a GM vehicle
- Scan the Airbag System with an Advanced Scan Tool
You won’t be able to scan and check the airbag system for codes without a higher-end or more advanced scan tool. The scanner will need to be able to communicate with different modules to scan for diagnostic codes.
– Select the Supplemental Inflatable Restraint module, which is the airbag module.
– Select to read the fault codes and display the DTCs. In the example shown in the video above, the scanner picked up airbag code B0091-00.
- Locate the Sensor Causing the Code
Check underneath the front bumper cover for the airbag sensors. You may have one or more.
- Disconnect the Negative Battery Terminal
Loosen the bolt and disconnect the negative battery terminal before working on the airbag system.
- Check the Sensor Connector for Corrosion
Check the airbag sensor electrical connector for damage like corrosion. The sensor in the video above at 1:35 and the picture below has split open from corrosion. The metal sleeve in the sensor can rust and corrode. As it corrodes it expands, splits and breaks the seal, which allows moisture to accumulate and damage the sensor.
- If There Is More Than One Sensor, Swap It with Another to Test It
If you have more than one airbag sensor, you can test the sensor by swapping it with another and seeing if the code follows the bad sensor.
- Replace the Defective Airbag Sensor
Replace the defective sensor by disconnecting the electrical connector, removing the bolts, and removing the sensor. Install the new sensor by inserting it into place, tightening the fasteners, and connecting the electrical connector.
How-to Videos to Replace Your Own Airbag System Parts and More
We have thousands of how-to videos to help you replace airbag system parts and more. Follow the step-by-step instructions and tips from our expert mechanics and learn how to work on many different models yourself.