In this guide, you explain what it means when your Kia airbag (SRS) light stays on, common problems, and how you can troubleshoot the airbag light yourself.
What does a Kia airbag light mean?
If your Kia airbag light comes on, it means that the Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) has detected a problem with one of the airbags, there is a faulty airbag sensor, or the battery voltage is too low.
The airbags may not deploy if you get in an accident.
To diagnose Kia airbag light you can't use a generic OBD-II scanner as it will not show any fault codes. You need an OBD-II scanner for the airbag system.
Common Kia Airbag Problems
Your Kia airbag light may come on for several reasons. The most common problems that trigger Kia airbag light are:
- Passenger occupancy sensor (front passenger seat)
- Airbag module has stored codes
- Side crash sensor faulty
- Previous accident
- Impact sensors damaged
- Faulty Clockspring
- Low battery voltage
The airbag / SRS module consists of multiple components, and any of them could malfunction. Without reading the codes, it is hard to know the root of the problem.
Passenger Seat Mat
Kia cars are equipped with a passenger detection system. It includes a sensor in the passenger seat (known as Occupant Detection Sensor or OBS sensor) that can detect the presence of a passenger in the seat.
The reason for this system is that if a child or no-one is sitting in the passenger seat and you get involved in an accident, the passenger airbag will not deploy.
The passenger seat mat is a common problem that triggers Kia airbag light. Typically it will trigger fault codes B1448, B1447, B1448, B1764, and B1767.
First, check the electrical connection under the passenger seat and make sure nothing is loose or disconnected.
If the occupant detection sensor is defective it needs to be replaced. The first thing you need to do is call your Kia dealer and check if there is a recall open for your vehicle.
Low Battery Voltage
It is possible that you may trigger the airbag / SRS warning :
- after you replace the battery
- if you have had a dead battery
- jump-started a Kia with a dead battery
In such cases the vehicle detects low voltage and the airbag control module triggers the airbag light.
To avoid such problems, you should always turn off the ignition and remove the key when you replace the battery. Always remove the key from ignition if you are checking fuses and especially if you remove the airbag fuse.
If any of the airbags deployed because your car was in an accident, crash data would have been stored in the Kia airbag module.
Crash data stored in the airbag module can not be cleared with most airbag scanners. They need to be cleared by the dealer or a specialized technician. Dealers will most likely recommend replacing the airbag module.
If you have the dealer diagnose the vehicle in most cases, they will recommend replacing the module. It is possible however to get your existing airbag module reset. Instead of buying a new module consider having a repair center reset your existing module. You can find such service even online, see Kia Airbag SRS RCM SDM ACM Module Reset Service.
These services will clear both hard and soft codes from the airbag module. Once you receive your unit back, you will not need to do any additional programming or go back to the dealer for programming.
How to Reset Kia Airbag Light
To find out why your Kia airbag light is on you will need to read the fault codes from the airbag module. Reading codes from the airbag module is very easy.
For this procedure, you will need an Airbag Scanner that works on Kia vehicles.
- Locate the diagnostic port under the dashboard on the driver's side.
- Plugin your airbag scanner and turn on the ignition. Do not start the engine.
- Select your Kia then select your model, Sorento, Sedona, Rio, Optima, Telluride, Soul Forte, etc.
- From the main menu select: Airbag / SRS module.
- Select Read DTC or Read Fault codes from the menu. Ensure all the codes are in stored status. If any codes are present or current, you need to fix that problem to change the status to stored.
- Once the fault codes show as stored, go back and select Clear Fault codes.
Back in February 2016, Kia issued a service bulletin, which is given to all Kia dealerships service departments, providing information on the replacement of a weight sensor mat, located in the front passenger seat.
Kia extended the warranty coverage for this repair upon the release of this bulletin to 15 years / unlimited mileage, starting from the date of the first service. Coverage will be provided for its replacement provided that the condition is not caused by external damage to the sensor mat.
Kia Rio, Optima, Sedona, Forte owners have complained about the airbag light coming on either intermittently, blinking, or illuminating and staying on while driving.
- PASSENGER AIRBAG "OFF"
- If the SRS system in your Kia is not working properly the airbag warning light will illuminate in your instrument cluster. When there is a problem with the passenger detection system the PASSENGER AIR BAG "OFF" light will not turn on and the passenger airbag may deploy even if there are no passengers in the front seat.