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Toyota SRS Airbag System Malfunction

Do you have an SRS airbag system malfunction message on the dashboard of your Toyota? The SRS here stands for Supplemental Restraint System, which is a safety feature that combines the function of airbags and seat belt pre-tensioners. With the SRS warning light on, neither of these life-saving devices will deploy in case of a crash. As this significantly increases the risk of an injury, you should take immediate action if the airbag warning light comes on.

Toyota SRS airbag system is complex, and figuring out what is causing the problem may not be that straightforward unless you have a scanner that can read the airbag codes. So, to make this easier for you, we will go through the most common issues that trigger the SRS light. In addition, we will find out how to get rid of this warning light once the faulty component has been replaced.

Toyota SRS warning light – common causes

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The most common reasons why Toyota airbag lights comes on include the following:

  • Passenger seat occupant sensor – Most newer Toyota vehicles have a sensor inside the passenger seat, whose job is to determine if someone is sitting on it. Based on this information, the SRS system decides whether to activate the passenger-side airbag. The sensor is shaped like a mat and is fitted into the seat’s bottom cushion. With time, this sensitive wiring may break apart, causing incorrect readings.
  • Locked SRS ECU – Following a crash in which the airbags have been deployed, the ECU that controls the SRS system will lock itself. When that happens, the airbag warning light will always be on, although no error codes may be stored. This is because the ECU must be replaced after a collision, which is one way of solving the problem. Another method involves disassembling ECU’s circuit board and erasing stored crash data. can reset the crash data on your SRS module.
  • Oxidized or dirty connectors – Many Toyota vehicles have an issue with their wiring connectors, which don’t seal perfectly. Depending on the conditions, this may allow moisture and dirt inside. With time, this creates corrosion and other buildups, which cause electrical interference and obstructs communication between various vehicle components. In most cases, cleaning off any contaminants and applying some dielectric grease will solve the problem.
  • Activated airbags or pre-tensioners – The airbags and seat belt tensioners are devices that, once activated, can’t be reused and must be replaced. Obviously, this only happens during an accident and would not go unnoticed. Still, the previous owner may have had a collision and didn’t replace these components. Some even go as far as disabling the ABS warning light by removing its bulb.
  • SRS ECU recall – More than three million vehicles made between 2011 and 2019 came straight from the factory with a potentially defective SRS ECU. The airbags in these cars may fail to deploy because of a software error. To fix this issue, Toyota launched a large-scale recall in January 2020, where they would modify the SRS harness.
  • Damaged wiring – The wiring that connects various SRS system components, especially those underneath the seats, can get damaged with time. This causes all sorts of electrical issues, including shorts and losses of communication. Blown fuses are another thing that may happen because of broken wiring. Any of these issues will cause the SRS light to come on.
  • Malfunctioning SRS ECU – The ECU that controls the SRS airbag system in most Toyota is located within the central console. That position proved potentially troublesome, as the ECU may get flooded there. In most cases, this happens if the car has a leaking windshield or cracked heater. The resulting corrosion and damage to the circuit board may disable the restraint system, triggering the SRS light.
  • Dead battery – A dead battery or voltage that drops below 10 volts can trigger a fault code in the SRS control module and may require a scanner to clear.

How to reset the Toyota airbag warning light


Because of its complexity, troubleshooting any issues with the SRS airbag system will require a diagnostic tool. Access to stored trouble codes will make finding the faulty component much easier. Furthermore, this device will allow you to quickly reset the airbag light once the issue has been resolved.

The YOUCANIC Full System Scanner can read and clear fault codes through every vehicle’s control module, including the airbag module.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I drive my Toyota with an airbag light on?

In most cases, airbags and seat belt pre-tensioners will be out of action when the SRS warning light is on. This means that you and your passengers will be less protected should a crash occur. Now, you may think that driving more carefully could sufficiently lessen this risk, as it reduces the chances of an accident. Keep in mind that other vehicles can still crash into your car.

Are Seat Belt Emulators safe to use in my Toyota?

An SRS light caused by passenger seat occupant sensors is a common issue, especially in older vehicles. While the sensor mat is not expensive, replacing it can be difficult. That is why some owners choose to install a passenger seat bypass. Although it will reinstate SRS’s function and turn off the airbag light, this trick also has one severe downside. With it, the passenger seat appears as occupied all the time. As a result, the passenger airbag in your Toyota would deploy, even with a child sitting in this spot.

What are the common causes of an Airbag Light to come on?

Broken passenger seat occupant sensor
Locked SRS ECU
Oxidized or dirty connectors
Activated airbags or pretensioners
SRS ECU recall
Damaged wiring
Malfunctioning SRS ECU


Your Toyota has several devices, including airbags and seat belt tensioners, that increase the protection level in a crash. All these components are a part of a safety feature called supplemental restraint system, or SRS. Failure with any of them will trigger the system SRS malfunction message or an airbag warning light.


  • adi

    Hello world!

    I am the brains behind the YOUCANIC website. So far, I love writing and solving problems. Also, I like to work on cars too. 

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