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Troubleshooting Kia Airbag Problems

Many Kia Rio, Optima, Sedona, Forte owners have complained about the airbag light coming on either intermittently, blinking, or illuminating and staying on while driving.

Everything else in the car operates as normal in all of these cases, aside from the airbag light being on.

What does Kia airbag light mean? 

It means that the restraint system has detected a problem with one of the airbags or airbag sensors and the airbags may not deploy if you get in an accident. 

In this article, you will learn about Kia airbag problems. What can trigger airbag / SRS light to come on and how to troubleshoot Kia airbag light yourself.

Possible Causes

List of problems that can trigger Kia airbag light to come on:

  • Passenger occupancy sensor (front passenger seat)

  • Airbag module

  • Side crash sensor faulty
  • Retractor pre-tensioner deployed
  • Front and Side impact sensors damaged
  • Clockspring
  • Low battery voltage

To find out why your Kia airbag light is on you will need to read the fault codes from the airbag module.

How to read Kia airbag fault codes

You need a scanner that can read airbag codes. 

Popular scanners that can read Kia airbag fault codes include Launch Creader and Foxwell for Kia/Hyundai which is an all system scanner. 

  1. Locate the diagnostic port under the dashboard. diagnose kia airbag light

     

  2. Plugin your scanner and turn on the ignition. Do not start the engine.  kia airbag light on

     

  3. Select your Kia model. Next, select the Airbag / SRS module.  Select Read DTC or Read Fault codes from the menu. 
  4. Once the problems are addressed you can come back and select Clear Fault codes or Clear DTC

Common Kia Airbag Problems

 

Here is a list of common problems that can cause the airbag light to come on in your Kia car. 

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. 

Occupant Detection System Seat Mat

Kia Sorento Airbag Warning Light

Kia cars are equipped with an occupant detection system. It includes a sensor in the passenger seat that can detect the presence of a passenger in the seat. The reason for this system is that if no-one is sitting in the passenger seat and you get involved in an accident, the passenger airbag will not deploy, no need for it.

Often this will trigger B1448 OBS Mat Defective fault code. Other trouble codes can be triggered such as B1447 B1448 B1764 B1767 which point to a faulty seat occupant sensor mat. 

The passenger airbag should not deploy in case there is an infant or child seated in the passenger seat. Under normal operation, the PASSENGER AIR BAG "OFF" indicator light should be off when an adult is sitting in the passenger seat.

The light should be ON when an infant or child is sitting on the passenger seat. 

Ensure that the electrical connection under the passenger seat is not loose or disconnected. This is a common problem with Kia vehicles. Once you eliminate the connection under the passenger seat you need to inspect the passenger mat (occupant detection sensor).

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 service bulletin out for this repair. In other words, the dealer may fix this problem for you free of charge if there is a recall on this issue. 

 

A dead battery 

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.

If you have a dead battery, it is best to fully charge your battery with a trickle charger.

Always remove the key from ignition if you are checking fuses and especially if you remove the airbag fuse. 

Replace the battery if over five years old. If the battery is newer fully charge the battery.

Next, follow the instructions on how to read and clear the codes from the airbag control module on a Kia. 

Accident

Kia rio: any way to reset airbag light

If your Kia has been involved in an accident, the airbag module will store crash data. If any of airbag deployed, the car was an accident crash data would be stored in Kia airbag module.

It is important to understand that Kia's airbag system is controlled by the airbag (SRS) module, which is a computer component.

This component runs a particular type of software that is written specifically for that component (in this case, the airbag system) and the software runs on a chip, called an EEPROM.

The software dictates how the airbag system operates. In some cases, the EEPROM needs to be updated and reprogrammed because of an error. This problem has to be handled by the dealership, as they may send the unit off to an IT company which reprograms it and sends it back to them, at which point they can reinstall it in your vehicle.

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, which costs several hundred dollars 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. 

PASSENGER AIR BAG "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. 

 

Service Bulletin

Furthermore, 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.

The purpose of the sensor mat is to detect child seats or other lightweight occupants who could be harmed by the deployment of the passenger side airbag in the event of an accident.

If the sensor mat is not operating properly (meaning that the airbag would deploy if a lightweight occupant was present, which could potentially harm them), then the airbag light on the instrument cluster will be lit and a few diagnostic trouble codes could be stored: B1447, B1448, B1449, and/or B1550. 

Kia extended the warranty coverage for this repair upon the release of this bulletin to 15 years / unlimited mileage, starting from the date of first service. Coverage will be provided for its replacement provided that the condition is not caused by external damage to the sensor mat.

Airbag Fault Codes 

B1448 - Points to a defective mat. This is the occupant sensor on the passenger seat. Can be purchased used and replaced. May require a diagnostic scanner to clear the fault codes. Some owners install a what is known as seat occupant sensor bypass which emulates the occupant sensor. This is not a proper repair and is not recommended. Using an emulator to bypass the occupant sensor will cause the airbag to deploy even if a child is sitting on the front seat. 

  • B1111 Battery voltage too high
  • B1112 Battery voltage too low
  • B1329 Airbag Module
  • B1346 DAB resistance too high
  • B1347 DAB resistance too low
  • B1348 DAB Short ground
  • B1349 DAB Short battery
  • B1355 PAB Short to battery
  • B1352 PAB resistance too high
  • B1353 PAB resistance too low
  • B1354 PAB Short to ground
  • B1363 Driver BPT Short to ground
  • B1364 Driver BPT Short to battery
  • B1369 Passenger BPT Short to ground
  • B1370 Passenger BPT Short to battery
  • B1378 DSAB Resistance too high
  • B1380 Driver SAB Short to ground
  • B1381 Driver SAB Short to battery
  • B1382 PSAB Resistance too high
  • B1383 PSAB Resistance too low
  • B1397 DSAB Resistance too low
  • B1400 Satellite left side defect
  • B1401 Satellite right side short to ground
  • B1402 Satellite left side short to battery
  • B1403 Satellite right side defect
  • B1406 PPD front-Passenger defect
  • B1407 Passenger Presence Detection Front-Passenger Communication Error
  • B1408 Satellite left communication error
  • B1410 Satellite right communication error
  • B1511 Driver seat belt buckle switch short to battery
  • B1512 Driver seat belt buckle switch to ground or short
  • B1513 Passenger seat belt buckle switch short to battery
  • B1514 Passenger seat belt buckle switch to ground or short
  • B1620 Internal fault
  • B1650 Crash recorded front airbag
  • B1655 Crash recorded side airbag
  • B1657 Ignition recorded belt pretensioner
  • B1661 ECU mismatching
  • B2500 Warning Lamp Failure

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Comments

Lisa, 2018-04-07

Do you know what the code B1258 is, I don't see it listed above? The mechanic said it was front impact sensor. He said inspected the connection at air bag module and impact sensor, sensor was cracked causing communication error. $550 to fix.

Beverly Hopkin…, 2018-04-08

My 2008 KIA airbag deployed itou face blinding me upon a left turn

Karen, 2018-04-10

My 2009 Kia Optima's airbag light stays on. Dealer told me it is caused by a defective seat belt. Will the airbag still deploy? Could a loose connection cause the problem?

ANTHONY J. GIANNOTTI, 2019-05-02

MY 2005 KIA SEDONA HAD SO MANY MAJOR PROBLEMS I DEMANDED A NEW ONE . THEY GAVE ME A 2007 KIA SEDONA EX AND YOU NAME IT AND IT HAPPENED . HIGH PRICED CRAP . MY SONS 2013 KIA SOUL EATS TIRES , THREE SUNROOF ISSUES , AND ENGINE HAS A IDLE FROM SMOOTH TO WHAT APPEARS TO BE A MISFIRE NOT TO MENTION AT ANY GIVEN MOMENT ON HIGHWAY IT WILL EMIT A DENSE HUGE CLOUD OF WHITE SMOKE FROM EXHAUST BLINDING ALL BEHIND IN THE PACK . EASILY PUT I WOULDN'T TAKE ANOTHER KIA FOR FREE . THEY LOOK GREAT BUT THEY ALL HAVE NUMEROUS MINOR AND MAJOR DANGEROUS PROBLEMS AND KIA LIKES TO HIDE AS LONG AS THEY CAN . SO TO KIA I SAY ; BYE BYE ...............................

Austin, 2019-09-07

If the Kia Soul pushes out white smoke when driving, your engine may be burning oil. You might want to have that looked at. If its a gasket leak, your engine may run out of oil and seize up.

Khehla Solomon , 2018-04-23

Hi can you please advice on how to reset my safety belt after my air bag were deployed now i cant pull the safety belt.

The pre tensioner in your seat belt has ignited. In turn it makes your seat belt get stuck.

The recommended solution is to take the car to the dealer and replace the seat belt. But that will cost you several hundred dollars.

There is another solution though. There are companies that will repiar your seat belt for under $100. You just have to remove it and sent it in.  See more detials about this soultion here: https://www.youcanic.com/solution/seat-belt-wont-retract-after-accident

Visitor, 2018-05-07

2005 light stays on what does that mean( air bag light).

Kvisitor 2, 2018-05-19

Air bag light is going off and on in Kia Rio 2011. Is it safe to drive?

Mike M., 2018-05-19

If you get into an accident there is no guarantee that your airbags will work. Which it can be difference between life or death. Other that that, the car will run and drive fine. I am not going to tell you drive it or not. It's your call. But make sure to get the airbag light diagnosed sooner rather than latter. You never know when you will need the airbags to work.

Hopefully never.

Trevor Jones , 2019-01-31

Hi my sportage mk2 has its airbag light on constantly my machanic has put his fault analyser on and it shows no faults. Any ideas? I have had the airbag control module replaced but the light came back on after a couple of months.

Alicia, 2019-04-13

If I disconnect the passenger side airbag sensor, does that mean it remains on or off? The reason I ask is because I want to use a cushions with it but this makes the sensor turn off the airbag. It's a 2017 sportage.

Oliver Acquah, 2019-05-16

How hard is it to diagnose the S R S problem with an air bag scanner?

Sunju Choi, 2019-07-05

2013 Kia Rio has airbag light on during driving. Is this year Rio in the list on Recall?

Tyler S., 2019-07-05

Sunju - I would call the dealer and give them the vin number. They will tell you if there is an open recall. Or go to the National Highway Transportation Adminitration website.

Oliver - Reading and clearing SRS codes with an OBD2 scanner is very easy.

glenn wells, 2019-07-15

how can you remove airbag light on all the time on my kia magatis

Kaylee T, 2019-08-06

My 2015 Optima LC has the airbag light on, but after trying 3 different code readers, and having o'Reilly check as well, still not throwing a code. Passenger airbag OFF light works just fine.. any ideas? Last resort is the dealer as they want $110 just to try to read a code.

Brenda Hubbard, 2019-08-14

My airbag light is on and will not go off. How much will it cost to fix it. I have a Kia Sportage LX/EX 2009

Charles Gatewood, 2019-09-15

I have a 2017 Kia Cadenza, Everytime I put a seat cover on my front passenger seat the air bag off light stays on when someone is sitting in the seat I always put seat covers on my front seats to protect them even a folded towel will activate this light. Are the seat sensors that sensitive?

By YOUCANIC on Aug 6, 2019

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