Is your airbag warning light on? This is a light on the control panel near the speedometer that looks like a person sitting in a seat holding an exercise ball in their lap. If this light is on, try these steps to fix common problems with the airbag (SRS) warning light.

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Airbag-Light-Toyota-SRS

Warning

The SRS warning indicator could mean that you have a serious problem with the airbag system in your vehicle. If in doubt, check with the dealership or a qualified mechanic to diagnose and fix the problem.

If you do any work at all on the SRS , disconnect your negative battery terminal and wait 90 seconds before working on the system.

Typical diagnosis costs for this warning are around $150 at a dealership. If they determine that the airbag system on either the driver’s or passenger’s side needs to be replaced, it will cost about $2000 each.

Problem Description

I had the airbag warning light (SRS) illuminate on the dash today in my 2006 Toyota Sienna. I had just dropped my son off at a friend’s house and as I pulled away, I noticed that it was on. I don’t recall doing anything specifically that could have led to it turning on (no rough driving, or hauling lumber or etc…).

In fact, we had cleaned and vacuumed the entire vehicle earlier in the week.

Toyota-Airbag-Light-PracticalMechanic

What is the Airbag (SRS) Warning Light?

The airbag warning light relates to a problem with the Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) in the vehicle. Specifically, the SRS warning light indicates a malfunction in one of the following areas:

  • The airbag system
  • Front passenger occupant classification system
  • The seat belt pretensioner system

The Airbag System

Common problems with the airbag system can occur when you are performing work on the vehicle. For example, removing the steering wheel (which houses the airbag) and then powering on the vehicle will cause this fault since the airbag is no longer attached.

Other work that could cause the SRS light would include changing the stereo or adding electronics such as an external microphone for phone calls.

Anything that could disrupt the SRS circuit could potentially be a culprit.

Front Passenger Occupant Classification System

This system tries to determine whether there is someone sitting in the passenger’s seat or not. The idea being that the airbag should only deploy if there is someone there. It uses sensors in the seat to tell if there is sufficient weight to be classified as a person or not.

Sometimes the system may get confused if you have something sitting in the passenger’s seat that is somewhat heavy, but not as heavy as a person, such as a backpack or large purse. Try removing anything from the seat.

Seat Belt Pretensioner System

This system attempts to determine if the seatbelt is fastened around a person. Problems with the seat belt latch or buckle can cause the SRS light to illuminate.

How to Reset the Airbag Light (SRS) on a Toyota

We’ve covered the common problems that can set off the airbag light, now what do you do about it? The following tips are listed in order of most common to less common, so start at the top of the list and work your way down.

1. Loose Connection Under the Seat

This is by far the most common reason that the airbag (SRS) light comes on. There are sensors under both the driver’s side and passenger’s side seats that can become loose or disconnected. This often happens when vacuuming or cleaning a vehicle, when adjusting the seats to the extremes for hauling loads, or from wiggly kids inadvertently stepping on them and causing them to become loose.

The main culprit is a yellow wire under the seat.

Toyota-SRS-System-Connector-Yellow

To fix this, with the vehicle off and key out of the ignition, ‘wiggle’ the wires and connectors. Disconnect and reconnect the connectors. You may need to use a small screwdriver to pry up the tab in order to get them apart.

Passengers-Seat-Electrical-Connector-Toyota-Sienna

So just unplugging and replugging the the connectors under the front seats can cause the service light to go off. This is the most simple fix for this problem. Even if nothing looks loose, it is a good idea to re-seat the connectors and jiggle the wires in case there is a bad connection somewhere.

This is what fixed the problem for me.

2. Resetting the SRS Light

Another method that some people have used is to reset the SRS light by turning the electrical on and off in a sequence.

To do this, turn the key in the ignition, but do not start the car. Just turn it far enough to turn on the electrical. As soon as the SRS indicator light turns off, then turn the key to the off position and then turn it on again. Repeat this procedure about 5-7 times. The key here is to get the timing right. Afterwards, go ahead and start the car’s engine. Check if the SRS light has gone out.

If the indicator light isn’t responding, try the following number of seconds:

Turn the key on, wait 7 seconds, then turn it off and wait 3 seconds. Repeat this 5-7 times.

Conclusion

If none of these methods clear up your SRS indicator, and you have not done any work on the vehicle that could have triggered the light, then you should get it checked out by a qualified mechanic so that your airbags are operational again.

I hope this post was able to help you in some way. I really like getting comments and hearing your story, so please leave me a note!

Thanks, and all the best!

Richard