2 Signs Of A Bad Airbag Control Module (& Replacement Cost)

Modern vehicles have airbags that are intended to safeguard you and all occupants. To work properly, however, the system must have several components. An airbag that is not working properly may cause it to fail.

Let's examine what symptoms might indicate that your airbag control module is malfunctioning, how it can be fixed and the cost of replacement. Let’s begin with a quick look at the signs to look for:

An SRS warning indicator on your dashboard will be the first sign that you'll notice an issue with the airbag control module. The other symptom is that the airbags won’t deploy in an accident and that’s something you definitely do not want to happen.

Here’s more detailed information about the different symptoms of a bad airbag control module:

Índice de Contenido
  1. Bad Airbag Control Unit Symptoms
    1. 1. Warning lights for SRS
    2. 2. Airbags Don’t Deploy
  2. Airbag Control Module Location
  3. Airbag Control Module Function
  4. Airbag Control Module Replacement Cost

Bad Airbag Control Unit Symptoms

1. Warning lights for SRS

Airbag Light

You vehicle has a Supplemental Restraint system that includes an airbag control unit. The SRS warning lamp will illuminate if there's a problem. 

The warning light may indicate a number of different things. It could also be that the sensor is bad, there’s a malfunctioning clock spring or the seat belt pretensioner isn’t operating correctly. An OBDII scanner equipped with SRS functionality should allow you to quickly pinpoint the problem. 

2. Airbags Don’t Deploy

Small Car Crash

You are at risk in the event of an airbag failure. While the SRS light might illuminate, there’s always the chance that there’s a malfunction and you might receive no alert.

In this case, the only way you would know that something is wrong with the airbag system is when they don’t deploy during an accident. No one wants to find out this way, which is why it’s critical to check any trouble codes when they occur. 

Airbag Control Module Location

Once you figure out what’s wrong with this vital part, you want to know where the airbag control module is located. Unfortunately, it’s in a different location in every vehicle. You can find it near your engine, passenger area, or front fascia.

The best way to find the airbag control module location is to look in your owner’s manual. You might also need an OBDII scanner in order to reset your trouble codes once you've replaced it. 

Airbag Control Module Function

Airbag Control Unit

Every modern vehicle has an airbag control unit to activate the crucial safety system. The seat belts offer the best protection in an accident, however the airbags can be used as an additional safety device.

All vehicles manufactured after 1998 have the Supplemental Retention System (SRS) installed. To work correctly, the system relies on numerous sensors coming from both airbags and the airbag clock spring, which is attached to the driver’s side airbag and steering column. Information is also received from any seat belts as well as other airbags such roof-mounted curtain airbags and knee airbags. 

This information is transmitted through the airbag controller module. This part is also known as the SRS control module or airbag electronic controller unit. This part acts as the brain of your system and coordinates all SRS components to ensure seamless operation.

All data from various sensors is being monitored by the airbag control module. This information is used to determine if a crash has occurred. To ensure that the crash is not as severe on the victims, it activates the Supplemental Restraint System, including appropriate airbags. 

In addition to determining if airbags need to be intact in an emergency, the module can also decide if they should. Data is saved to the airbag controller module that are used during events. These data include vehicle speed, seatbelt use, brake usage, throttle position, and throttle position. To assess the accident, a technician can save this data. 

Airbag Control Module Replacement Cost

Airbag control module replacement costs typically range between $600 to $700. While labor costs can range from $90 to $120 for the work, parts typically cost between $510 and $510.

The airbag control module is built to last and will not need to be replaced by most people. 

The SRS warning light will turn on and you must stop driving. You and all your passengers are at risk if the airbag control system is defective. Failing airbag control modules will not allow the Supplemental Reraint System to function properly.

You should be able diagnose your system using an OBDII scanner that has SRS readability. You might also be able replace the airbag controller module yourself with basic tools and knowledge. This will save you money on labor. After replacing the airbag control module, your diagnostic tool may be needed to reset codes or turn off the SRS warning lights.

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