What the Airbag Light on a 2011 Hyundai Sonata Means

The airbag light on a 2011 Hyundai Sonata turns on to warn you about a fault in the airbag system. Get it checked out sooner rather than later.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
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If your 2011 Hyundai Sonata airbag light stays on for more than a few seconds, you’ve got a problem. It’s not safe to drive around with a malfunctioning airbag system, so you should get this issue checked out immediately.
As part of responsible car ownership, Hyundai owners should understand and respond to the warning lights on their dash. If the airbag light is flashing or stays on, it’s time to bring your Sonata to a dealership or mechanic. When your safety is at stake, don’t hesitate. Ask a
car repair
expert for assistance. 
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What does the airbag light mean on a 2011 Hyundai Sonata?

Whenever you turn on your Hyundai Sonata, the car does a scan to make sure your systems are functioning properly. The airbag light may become illuminated or blink if a problem is detected.
Look for a tiny picture of a person with a seatbelt on with a circle above them representing the airbag. You may also see the letters “SRS” light up, which stands for “supplemental restraint system.” 
Airbags are a part of the SRS, so having either light illuminated could indicate an issue with your car’s safety systems.
There are several common reasons that cause the 2011 Hyundai Sonata airbag light to turn on:
  • Faulty sensors: The sensors tell the airbags when their deployment is needed in the event of a crash. These sensors can fail or wear out with time. If your car’s system detects an issue with the sensors themselves, this could cause the airbag light to illuminate.
  • Damp airbag module: Electrical damage can cause the airbag light to come on. If the airbag light came on after you did some wet off-roading, you may have shorted out or corroded the airbag system. 
  • Drained or dead airbag backup battery: The airbags are powered by a backup battery. If your Hyundai’s battery recently died, this could cause the airbag light to illuminate. In this situation, the light may turn off once the car’s main battery is recharged. In other cases, you might need to replace the backup battery.
  • Damaged airbag clock spring: The clock spring is the component that maintains continuity between the driver’s side airbag and the electrical system of the car. As you move the steering wheel, the clock spring also moves with each turn. If the problem is in the airbag clock spring, there’s some good news: Hyundai has decided to extend the warranty coverage for 2011-2013 Sonatas to 15 years (Until 2026-2028) with unlimited mileage.
Ultimately, there are many reasons your 2011 Hyundai Sonata airbag light could be illuminated beyond the ones described above. Your airbag system keeps you and your passengers safe, so it’s important to take this warning light seriously. 
If you are not able to reset the sensor yourself manually or with a code reader, it’s best to take your car to a professional to find the source of the problem.

What you need to know about the 2011 Hyundai Sonata airbag recall

There was a recall issued for the 2011 Hyundai Sonata’s airbag control unit. In this model, electrical issues can lead to problems with the deployment of the front and side airbags as well as the proper functioning of the seat belt pretensioners.
Your Hyundai dealer can install a solution that can help mitigate the recalled system. This involves installing an external wire filter kit to prevent the electrical overstress that sometimes occurs in the 2011 Sonata airbag control unit. This repair should be issued by your dealership for free.
Does this apply to you? Find out by checking your 2011 Sonata VIN number on Hyundai’s website or by checking the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website

How to reset the airbag warning light on a 2011 Hyundai Sonata 

Occasionally, your airbag light might just need to be reset. You can do this with a diagnostic code reader or you can follow the steps below to do it manually:
  1. Turn your key in the ignition to ON (but don’t turn the engine on) and wait for the airbag light to come on.
  2. The light typically stays on for about 7 seconds, so turn the car off again before it turns off.
  3. Wait 3 seconds, then repeat this process three times in total.
  4. Wait five seconds.
  5. Try starting up the car completely.
With any luck, the airbag light will be off after you’ve completed these steps. 
If the light is still on, ensure that the passenger airbag has not been switched off by button or key lock. In some models, you cannot reset the airbag light without the aid of a code reader. That’s because the risk of driving around with a faulty airbag system is too high.
Take your Sonata to a mechanic or dealership if you can’t get the light to turn off or if you have any indication there might be a problem with any part of the SRS.

Is it OK to drive with the 2011 Hyundai Sonata airbag light on? 

While your car may continue to drive smoothly while the airbag light is on, it is not safe to do so. 
When the airbag light is on, you cannot know if the airbags and the supplemental restraint system are functioning correctly. In the event of an accident, your airbags may not deploy or deploy improperly. This could result in injury or fatality for you or your passengers.
It’s not worth the risk! Take your 2011 Hyundai Sonata to a mechanic or dealership for diagnosis and repair.
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