2016 Ford Fiesta Airbag Light ON

Ford Airbag Light On – Common Causes & Troubleshooting

Is the airbag light on your Ford staying on all the time? The airbag light on Ford stays on to warn the driver that the airbag system has malfunctioned and may not deploy in an accident. Driving a Ford with the airbag light on can mean risking your life if you are involved in an accident. In this article, we go over a common problem that triggers the airbag light on Ford vehicles and how to troubleshoot the airbag light yourself.

What does the airbag / SRS light mean on a Ford? 

2015 Ford Mustang Airbag Light stays on
2015 Ford Mustang Airbag Light On

BMW-Airbag-and-Seatbelt-System-DefectiveThe airbag light in a Ford vehicle is a warning indicator that alerts the driver about issues with the supplemental restraint system (SRS). The Airbag/SRS system is a safety feature on Ford vehicles. There are a lot of possible causes that may trigger the warning light a faulty clock spring, defective airbag control module, damaged sensors, and a lot more, which will be discussed below. A malfunctioning airbag system may cause the airbags not to deploy when a collision happens or deploys randomly.

Can You Drive Your Ford with Airbag Light On?

2020 Ford Transit Cargo Airbag Light On
2020 Ford Transit Cargo

We do not recommend driving your vehicle with an airbag light on, even if it won’t affect your vehicle’s running condition, because a malfunctioning airbag system can cause the airbags not to deploy when needed and may deploy randomly without any collisions, which can be dangerous and lead to serious injures to the occupants. So we recommend fixing the problem immediately before driving your vehicle again.


2013 Ford Explorer Airbag Light on
2013 Ford Explorer Airbag Light On
  • Airbag Warning Light Illuminating: If the Airbag/SRS system detects a malfunction, the airbag/srs warning light will illuminate.
  • Airbags Won’t Deploy: If the SRS system is not functioning properly, it may not deploy the airbags as intended in a collision. This can result in more severe injuries or fatalities.
  • Horn/Cruise Control not Working: A faulty clock spring can trigger the airbag light to come on and also affect the horn and cruise control to not work.
  • Other Warning Lights Come On: Depending on the system’s issue, the airbag warning light can trigger other warning lights.
  • Beeping or Chiming Sound: Some Ford models may produce a beeping or chiming sound along with the illuminated airbag light to alert the driver of a potential issue.

Common Causes

The most common cause why the airbag light stays on in Ford vehicles is because the car battery dies or is too weak, reading below 10.5 Volts which sets Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) on the airbag module and; therefore, the airbag light stays on.

Faulty Airbag Control Module

Ford airbag control module location can vary depending on the model and year of your Ford vehicle.

The Airbag Control Module is essential because it monitors the sensors and airbags. Once a collision or car crash happens, it signals the airbags to deploy. After that, you must reset the airbag control module to function again. If the airbag module stored accident data or hard codes, trying to clear the codes with a scanner would not fix the problem. Resetting the airbag module by experts is a possible solution if an airbag deployment happens.

Faulty Clock Spring

The Clock Spring is a coiled wire that connects the steering wheel airbag, horn, and others allowing electrical signals to pass between them while the steering wheel is turned. As the steering wheel is turned, the wires keep intact without breaking. The clock spring can wear out or become damaged over time. One of the most common symptoms of a faulty clock spring is the airbag light staying on constantly and the horn & cruise control not working. If the clock spring is faulty, it can cause the airbag light to illuminate on the dashboard. The clock spring can wear out or become damaged, leading to issues with the steering column’s airbag or other electrical components.

Faulty/Defective Crash Sensors

airbag crash sensor
The location of the crash sensor on a Ford vehicle can vary depending on the make and model. In most cases, the crash sensor is located near the front of the vehicle, either behind the front bumper or near the radiator support.

A faulty crash or impact sensor can trigger the airbag light to come on and should be replaced immediately because it is dangerous and can trigger airbags to deploy randomly. To diagnose an airbag light, you will need an airbag scanner that will point out that a crash sensor is malfunctioning. A possible reason why the sensor is also failing is that there is damaged wiring to the sensor, so you’ll also need to check the wiring before replacing the crash sensor. When working on the airbag system, always disconnect the negative battery and press the horn a few times to drain the current stored on the system so that the airbags won’t deploy randomly.

Deployed Seat Belt Pre-tensioner

The pre-tensioner is located near the seat belt buckle or the anchor point where the seat belt attaches to the vehicle’s body.

The seat belt pre-tensioner is connected to the airbag system; It tightens the seat belt to reduce the occupant’s distance from the interior. So if the seat belt pre-tensioner has malfunctioned, it can cause the airbag/srs light to come on. If the car is involved in an accident, the pre-tensioner will blow, locking the seat belt. You can either replace the seat belt pre-tensioners. Seat belt pre-tensioner costs around $100-$200 for a used unit and generally doesn’t require any programming.

Occupancy Passenger Sensor

passenger seat carpet
The location of the passenger occupancy sensor in a vehicle can vary depending on the make and model. In most cases, the sensor is located under the passenger seat cushion.

The airbag Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) warning light may turn on if there is an issue with the occupancy passenger sensor. The occupancy passenger sensor is a component of the airbag system that detects whether there is a passenger in the front seat and determines whether to activate or deactivate the airbag. Passenger Occupancy Sensor, also known as Weight Sensor, Seat Mat, or Passenger Occupancy Mat, is installed under the front passenger seat cushion. When the sensor detects an adult in the passenger seat, it will deploy the airbag in the event of a car crash, and when it detects a child or car seat is on the passenger seat, it will send it to the control module and disable the airbag on the passenger seat. Airbags can be dangerous and cause serious injuries to children when deployed.

Weak Dead Battery

Replace Car Battery on Ford Fusion 2013-2020
Replacing a Ford Dead Battery.

Having a weak battery can cause the airbag warning light to illuminate. Even if you start your vehicle, it can still be one of the issues because the airbag control module needs a certain power for them to work 100%, and if it doesn’t have that power, it will malfunction and disable the airbag system. Also, you can use a multimeter to check the battery’s voltage; if it drops below 12V when the vehicle is off, you will need the battery to be recharged or replaced.

Lose, Corroded, or Worn Wiring

Damaged Wire cut harness
Torn Wiring Causing Airbag Fault Codes

The airbag system comprises sensors, control modules, and wiring to detect and respond to collisions. If the wiring connected to the airbag system is loose, corroded, or worn, it can cause the airbag light to illuminate. Several factors can cause the wiring to become worn or torn, including exposure to extreme temperatures, moisture, Rodent damage, where animals chew through the wiring, and physical damage, such as accidentally cutting the wiring during maintenance or repair, are common causes.

In diagnosing a wiring problem, you can use a scanner which can indicate that a wiring is failing, or also it will point out a sensor that still works but fails because of worn wiring. The affected wiring may need to be repaired or replaced to restore the proper functioning of the SRS system.

Blown Airbag

Chrysler 300 Deployed Airbags
A Blown Airbag after a Car Crash

Airbags are for one-time use and should be replaced immediately for safety purposes. Once the airbags have blown or deployed, the warning light will illuminate. If you have already replaced the airbag, you must reset the Airbag Control Module. This is because the airbag module will store a fault code indicating that the airbags have been deployed, and this code will need to be cleared from the system to ensure that the new airbags will deploy correctly in the event of a collision.

A diagnostic scanner can be used to determine if the airbags in a Ford vehicle have deployed in a collision. The scanner will be able to read the fault codes stored in the airbag control module and identify any issues with the system. 

How to Reset Ford Airbag / SRS Warning Light with a Scanner? 

The airbag light on a Ford can come on for several reasons, including a faulty crash/weight sensor, a bad clock spring, a weak/dead battery, a bad belt pre-tensioner, damaged wiring etc. To find out, you need to read the codes with a scanner that can read the airbag module, such as YOUCANIC full system scanner. Then fix the underlying issue and clear the codes outlined in the section below.

  1. Locate the OBD-II port under the dashboard and plug in your adapter.
  2. Power on the Youcanic scanner: Press the power button until the device turns on.
  3. Go to the ‘Diagnose’ option: On the scanner’s main menu, select the ‘Diagnose’ option.
  4. Select the Vehicle Make: You will see a list of vehicle makes. Scroll through the list until you find your vehicle’s make, then select it.
  5. Select ‘Control Units’: The next screen will display different options after selecting the make.
  6. Find and select the ‘Control Units’ option.
  7. Select ‘Airbag/SRS Control Unit’: The next screen will show a list of various control units.
  8. Scroll down until you select the ‘Airbag/SRS Control Unit’.
  9. Read or Clear codes: Here, you can ‘Read codes’ or ‘Clear codes.’ To read the airbag codes, select ‘Read codes.’ The scanner will then display any stored airbag codes.
  10. To clear the airbag codes, select ‘Clear codes.’ Follow any prompts that appear to clear the codes. Please note only clear codes after the problem has been fixed. Clearing the codes without fixing the problem may cause the codes to reappear.

How to Reset Ford Airbag Light without Scanner?

  1. Turn the Ignition switch to the Accessories Position (Do not Start the vehicle)
  2. Wait for a few seconds for the airbag light to turn off.
  3. Turn the ignition switch to the off position for 3-5 seconds.
  4. Then. Repeat steps 1-3 for three cycles.
  5. Turn the ignition switch to the on position again.
  6. Start the vehicle.
  7. Then, before turning off the engine, the airbag light should turn on for 6-8 seconds.

Resetting the airbag light without a scanner can be a solution. Still, it may illuminate again in the future because if the airbag light illuminates, it means there’s a system malfunction, which should be fixed immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does my Airbag Light come on when I make Right Hand Turns?

The OPS or Occupancy Passenger Sensor can be one of the causes why the airbag light illuminates. This sensor detects the weight of the person sitting in the passenger seat, which tells the airbag system whether to deploy or not to deploy the airbag in an event of a car crash.  The weight distribution in the vehicle can shift, which can cause the OCS sensor to malfunction or send incorrect signals to the airbag system.

Can I Reset Airbag Light without a Scanner?

Resetting the airbag light without a scanner can be a solution. Still, it won’t last in the future because if the airbag light illuminates, it means that there’s a malfunction in the system, which should be fixed immediately. Once the issue has been repaired, some Ford vehicles automatically turn off the warning light of the airbag. But if the airbag light is still on, you can use an airbag scanner to clear the stored codes. If clearing the codes won’t turn off the airbag warning light, ensure you have fixed the problem. Possible causes why the airbag light is still illuminating because you might not have connected the wirings properly or the wirings are worn on the sensor. Ensure to use a scanner that can read and clear fault codes on the airbag system.

Does Disconnecting Battery Terminals Reset the Airbag Light?

This solution does not work in all situations and may not be permanent if the underlying issue causing the light to turn on is not addressed. Disconnecting battery terminals can also cause electrical issues and may reset other settings saved in your vehicle. So it is better to reset the airbag light using a scanner which will be a safer process than disconnecting the battery terminals.

Does Replacing Ford’s Clock Spring Triggers Airbag SRS Light?

Replacing the clock spring in a Ford vehicle can sometimes trigger the airbag/SRS warning light. The clock spring is an important airbag system component, as it transfers electrical signals between the steering wheel and the vehicle’s onboard computer. When the clock spring is replaced, it can sometimes disrupt the electrical signals and cause the airbag warning light to come on. If replacing your vehicle’s clock spring, ensure to put the new one accurately and connect its connectors properly. Faulty clock springs can also cause the horn, cruise control, or other components connected to the clock spring not to work properly.

Fault Codes

Here are some common airbag/SRS fault codes that may appear on a Ford vehicle:

  • B1211: Less than two SRS system configuration faults detected
  • B1342: ECU is defective
  • B1877: Driver airbag open circuit or short to ground
  • B1881: Passenger airbag open circuit or short to ground
  • B1913: Airbag circuit shorted to ground
  • B1916: Airbag circuit shorted to battery or to voltage out of range
  • B1921: Airbag diagnostic monitor grounded
  • B1922: Airbag diagnostic monitor open circuit or short to ground
  • B1924: Airbag diagnostic monitor ground circuit open
  • B2290: Occupant classification system fault
  • U0151: Lost communication with an airbag control module
  • U1900: CAN communication bus fault

Applicable Models

  • Ford F-150
  • Ford Mustang
  • Ford Explorer
  • Ford Edge
  • Ford Escape
  • Ford Focus
  • Ford Fusion
  • Ford Taurus
  • Ford Flex
  • Ford Expedition
  • Ford Ranger
  • Ford Transit
  • Ford Fiesta
  • Ford C-Max


  • Rushit Hila • ASE Certified

    Rushit Hila, an ASE-certified engineer (G1 Automotive Maintenance and Repair), brings over two decades of hands-on experience in the automotive world to his writing. With a strong educational background, including a Master of Science in Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, he has honed his skills and expertise through years of practical work. As a respected authority in the field, Mr. Hila is dedicated to offering insightful and valuable content that resonates with both vehicle owners and mechanics.

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