What the Airbag Light on a Nissan Means

Your Nissan’s airbag light warns you about a malfunction in the airbag system. Get it checked out sooner rather than later.
Written by Jason Tushinski
Reviewed by Hillary Kobayashi
If the airbag warning light goes on in your Nissan vehicle, it means there is an issue with the supplemental restraint system (airbags). If you see this light, get your Nissan checked out as soon as possible.
It is important for all Nissan owners to understand their airbag warning light—what it means, what issues it may be alerting you to, and how to reset the light if there isn’t a problem. If you don’t fancy yourself a
car repair
expert, have no fear! This article will walk you through everything you need to know about your Nissan’s airbag warning light.

What does the airbag light mean on a Nissan?

Every time you start your Nissan, its computer does a scan of all vehicle systems—including the airbag system—to make sure everything is working as it should. If a problem is detected in your Nissan’s
airbag system
, the airbag warning light on your cluster gauge will turn on and begin blinking.
A Nissan’s airbag warning light is in the form of a seat-belted passenger with a round circle—representing the airbag—to the left of them. The airbag signal will be lit in red on your instrument panel. Your Nissan might show a red supplemental restraint system (SRS) light, as well.
Why does your Nissan's airbag light go on? There are many reasons why this could happen, but the cause can usually be narrowed down to a handful of problems. Here are the most common:
  • Malfunctioning sensors: Your Nissan’s crash sensors inform the
    airbag control module
    when it should deploy the airbags, while seat sensors monitor when the front seats are occupied. If either
    breaks or malfunctions, your airbag warning light may turn on.
  • Faulty airbag module: The nerve center of your Nissan’s airbag system, the airbag control module, will short out if it gets wet or damaged. This will cause the system to fail, and your airbag warning light to turn on. Check your Nissan’s owner’s manual so you know where the airbag control module is located.
  • Wiring problems: If the wires connecting the airbag control module and sensors fail, the airbag system won’t work—and you’ll be alerted by the airbag warning light turning on
  • Depleted airbag backup battery: Believe it or not, if your Nissan’s car battery begins to fail, the airbag backup battery can start powering the main battery. This will cause the airbag’s backup battery to drain, causing the warning light to pop up.
  • Broken airbag spring clock: Located in every Nissan steering wheel is an airbag spring clock, which expands and retracts in line with every turn of the steering wheel in order to maintain electrical continuity with the airbag on the driver’s side. If this spring wears out, the airbag warning light will turn on to alert you to the problem.
That said, these aren’t the only problems that will cause your Nissan’s airbag warning light to turn on. If the warning light is on and you aren’t sure why, it's never a bad idea to take your Nissan to the dealership, or a trusted mechanic, to resolve the issue. If you’re a Nissan-phile and own an OBD-II scan tool, you can scan for trouble codes within the airbag system.
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What you need to know about the Takata airbag recall

Many Nissan vehicles—out of tens of millions of total vehicles across the country—are currently subject to a recall as per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) involving Takata airbags. The recall is due to a problem with the airbag’s frontal inflators, which can explode due to high temperatures, humidity, and age, with the potential to seriously injure or kill a driver and/or passengers.
The following Nissan vehicles are currently under open recall:
If you own one of these vehicles and have not had the problem fixed, do so as soon as possible. You might even notice your airbag warning light on. Either way, this is definitely an issue that should be fixed.
MORE: How long do Nissans last?

How to reset the airbag warning light on a Nissan

Sometimes, there is no problem with your Nissan’s airbags and all that is necessary is to reset your Nissan’s airbag warning light. Doing so is easy, so just follow these steps:
  •  Turn the ignition to the ON position, but do not start your engine! The airbag warning light should start flashing
  • Once the light turns off (after a few seconds), turn the ignition off before the airbag warning light turns on again
  • Wait five seconds and then turn the ignition to the ON position again
  • Repeat the previous three steps two times—the airbag warning light’s blinking pattern will start to change
  • Once you’ve cycled through this process three times, give your Nissan five seconds before starting the engine
Now, the airbag warning light should be off when you turn your Nissan on again. If the warning light remains on, try the aforementioned process again. If the airbag light won’t go off, then it’s time to take your Nissan to the dealership in order to get the problem fixed.
MORE: Nissan reset indicator lights

Is it OK to drive with the Nissan airbag light on? 

Your Nissan is still drivable with the airbag warning light on—but it is not smart to drive for long without getting any airbag problem fixed, or simply resetting the light.
Why? Because the airbag warning light is your Nissan’s way of telling you that there is a potential problem with this life-saving system. If your airbags don’t deploy when they are supposed to, or deploy improperly, you and/or your passengers can be seriously injured or worse. 
If you see your Nissan’s airbag warning light on, take the vehicle to a mechanic to quickly get the problem solved to keep yourself and any passengers safe.
MORE: How long can you drive with the check engine light on?
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