What the Airbag Light on a Hyundai Means

If your Hyundai airbag light turns on, there could be a problem somewhere in the airbag system. You’ll want to have it checked ASAP.
Written by Melanie Krieps Mergen
Reviewed by Hillary Kobayashi
background
The airbag light or SRS light on a Hyundai will turn on when a problem has been detected with the supplemental restraint system. To make sure the system still works properly, you’ll want to have a mechanic take a look at it as soon as possible.
Airbags are arguably one of the most important safety features found inside your Hyundai—so it's a major cause for concern if you find out they may not be working properly. Here’s what to know about your Hyundai’s airbag system and when it’s time to see a mechanic for car repairs.
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What does the airbag light mean on a Hyundai?

Your Hyundai’s on-board diagnostic (OBD) system tracks various systems throughout your vehicle and monitors its performance—and if it detects a problem with a particular system, it will alert you by turning on the applicable warning light on your vehicle’s dashboard.
One of these might be your Hyundai’s
airbag light
. This warning light typically appears as a side profile of a passenger wearing a seatbelt facing a large circle, which represents the airbag. On some vehicles, you might also see the word “airbag” or the letters “SRS” appear.
“SRS” is short for “supplemental restraint system,” which includes the vehicle’s airbags and all their related parts, as well as your seatbelt mechanisms.
There’s no one reason that your airbag or SRS indicator light will turn on, but some of the most common reasons include:
  • Faulty sensors: The SRS relies on sensors to communicate with your
    airbag control module
    so that they can deploy properly in a crash, and to confirm that various components throughout the system are in good working order. But if any of the sensors wear out or start malfunctioning, it could trigger a warning light to appear on your dashboard. Additionally, if you were recently in an accident, even if your airbags didn’t deploy, it’s likely your crash sensors may need to be replaced.
  • Damaged airbag control module: The airbag control module isn’t immune to faults, either. If it experiences water, heat, or electrical damage, it may stop working properly and trigger the SRS light.
  • Wiring issues: The components of your Hyundai’s airbag system use wires to share information with each other. If a wiring problem arises somewhere in the system, your airbag light should turn on.
  • Airbag backup battery problems: The SRS has its own backup battery—and if it’s dead or low on power, your airbag light may turn on until it can be recharged or replaced.
  • Damaged airbag clock spring: Airbag clock springs are located in the steering wheel and facilitate the electrical connection between your driver’s side airbag and the rest of the airbag system. All that turning can make the airbag clock spring subject to a good amount of wear and tear, and if it’s no longer working properly, your SRS light might turn on.
There are plenty more reasons that could cause your Hyundai’s airbag light to turn on, so if you’re not sure what the culprit is, you’ll want to take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic as soon as possible so you can continue driving your vehicle safely. If you have an OBD-II scanner, you can also check for codes to get a better sense of what the underlying problem may be.

What you need to know about Hyundai airbag recalls

A number of Hyundais have been subject to recalls due to problems with their airbags or other parts of the SRS—one recent example being a series of recalls related to the risk of exploding seatbelt pretensioners on certain models.
Some of the affected vehicles have included:
  • 2011-2013 Hyundai Sonatas
  • 2011-2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrids
  • 2019-2022 Hyundai Accents
  • 2021-2023 Hyundai Elantras
But this isn’t necessarily an extensive list, and there’s always a possibility that additional Hyundai models could be added. You can check for recalls related to your own vehicle by using the VIN search tool on
Hyundai’s website
or by checking the
National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) website
If your vehicle has been affected by a recall, the problem can be corrected at no cost to you.
MORE: Are Hyundais expensive to maintain?

How to reset the airbag warning light on a Hyundai 

In some cases, it’s possible your airbag light will only need a simple reset. There are a few ways you can go about doing this.
Sometimes, the airbag warning light may reset itself the next time you start your vehicle. Another option you have is to use an OBD-II scanner to check or clear any existing error codes.
If your Hyundai has a weight sensor in the passenger seat—and most newer vehicles do—remove any heavy objects from the seat if you have any, as they could be triggering the light.
Another option is to reset the computer by disconnecting and reconnecting the car’s main battery (keeping best safety practices in mind). Just be aware that this may reset other vehicle settings as well.
But remember that turning off your airbag warning light won’t fix any underlying problems. If after some troubleshooting your airbag light remains on, you’ll want to have your vehicle inspected by a certified mechanic as soon as possible. 
MORE: The Takata airbag recall: Everything you need to know

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

If your Hyundai airbag light is on, it won’t stop you from being able to drive it—but it’s dangerous to do so.
Driving with your Hyundai’s airbag or SRS light on is a srs (read: serious) safety issue. If there’s a problem with your SRS, your airbags may not deploy properly in a crash, which could injure or even kill you or your passengers.
It’s not worth the risk! If you suspect there’s a problem with your vehicle’s airbags or another part of the SRS, you should take it to your auto shop of choice as soon as possible so you can make sure your Hyundai is still safe to drive.
MORE: How long can you drive with the check engine light on?
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