Automotive dealers use fear to scam people into replacing SRS auto airbags


by Jose Ascunce


I can not count how many times I receive calls from individuals telling me that their automotive dealer told them to replace both car airbags after the airbag light came on. My years of experience has lead me to tell you that I have little faith in auto dealers after hearing such rubbish . I am going to try and elaborate on some of the explanations why the airbag light may come on and what airbag parts, if any, need replacing. Before reading this article, I want to make it clear that if your airbag light is on you need to seek immediate help from an authorized mechanic . Any time your airbag light is on one or more of your airbags may not open on impact.

There are 2 kinds of codes that are generated by your vehicles airbag system, a hard-code and a soft-code. The most evident reason the airbag light comes on, is really because you have experienced some form of collision or somehow you might have simulated one. When the light comes on after an accident it is warning you of a hard code. When you experience a hard code light, you must replace all parts that were deployed and on most autos from 2000 and up this will includes, 1 or both of your seat belt pre-tensioners , as they too are part of the SRS automobile airbag system . Even in that circumstance, dealers often tell insurance corporations they must replace the clock-spring , impact sensors and other airbag parts that are in perfect condition and can be reused. Though, this does not affect you at once , it does increase insurance premiums which should affect you and other individuals indirectly in the long run .

A soft-code is what dealers thrive on and create huge profits for there parts dealers . A soft-code occurs when one of the SRS airbag parts has been either disconnected or has failed over time . Furthermore, a soft-code may occur even after something as straightforward as your vehicles battery requiring replacement. If your vehicle battery has drained, it is very likely that the SRS battery backup has conditionally failed . This can send a warning signal to your airbag module which alerts you by turning on the airbag light. The solution in most cases is to replace your vehicles battery and sometimes - this can fix the condition . However , different manufactures have different programming for their airbag modules. Therefore, in some cases, all that may be necessary is to utilise a scanner tool to deal with the airbag light problem. Another, scenario that occurs often , is created when you vacuum your automobile. It happens while using the nozzle of the vacuum, attempting to collect the dirt between your seat and the side panels, you sometimes jiggle lose or briefly disconnect your SRS seat belt pre-tensioners connector . Again, this scenario generates a soft-code , which can easily be reset by a scan tool. Sadly, these minor events can lead you to sneaky automotive dealers who exploit vehicle owners by utilizing scare strategies to sway you into replacing parts that you actually do not need .

So what are the most likely elements that may need replacing if your SRS auto airbag light does come on? On some occasions, the 2 most common errors that causes your airbag light to come on is the clock-spring and the airbag module. The clock-spring is the one part that has moving parts. As the driver steering wheel turns, it coils forwards and backwards and after many years of of use (10-15 years) the ribbon assembly "may" go bad. Nonetheless, it's not such a common problem on more modern vehicles . A likely source of the problem is the airbag module. The airbag module is the primary culprit that is accountable for reporting on all of the other parts which make up the SRS airbag system and can now and then be the source of the problem . The module is known to be susceptible to moisture and can even be damaged while jump starting another vehicle . Nontheless, the point of this piece is to advise you that airbags are sealed units and with rarity do they ever go bad. In 99.9 % of the cases we deal with, often the culprit is either the clock-spring , a disconnected seat belt, or probably the airbag module. Nevertheless the most likely is a soft-code fault generated by some event in your automobile that can quickly be fixed with a scan tool and without the expense of replacing any parts what so ever. So what is your best defense if your airbag light comes on? First, you are advised to been informed. Reading this document should be enough to comprehend the basics on how your airbag system works. In addition the best information I give customers is to ask the dealer or repair shop for a copy of the scanner report from the scan tool. This report gives you computer error codes that identifies which one of the parts is failing. With the accident codes in hand you can search online and sometimes find straightforward results to your problem. Last, if the dealer is asking for ridiculous amount to repair the SRS light - get a second opinion and never, ever, share the diagnostic report with your alternate technician . Wait, and get a new diagnostic report from your alternate airbag expert . Then and only then do you question any discrepancies in both reports. Remember, to troubleshoot your airbag light the diagnosing expense will be anywhere from $45 - $60.00 and as opposed to a couple of car airbags can cost $1500 - $2500 and more on some automobiles .

In conclusion, if it is true that your problem is coming from a soft-code , a qualified and responsible technician can resolve your airbag light problem with only an affordable diagnosis expense . In addition, be sure to get a copy of the diagnostic report from the scan tool and whether or not a code displays trouble with, for example, a driver steering wheel airbag or passenger dash airbag, it is likely it is a connection issue and not the airbag itself. Airbags are sealed units with no moving parts and it is a rarity that they ever go bad.




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