What the Airbag Light Indicates
Every time you start your Altima, the vehicle’s computer conducts a scan for faults in the airbag system and other related components. If a problem is detected, the airbag light on the instrument panel will illuminate or start flashing. This light, often referred to as the “supplemental airbag light,” signifies a malfunction in the supplemental restraint system (SRS).
Common Causes for the Airbag Light
Several factors can trigger the Nissan Altima airbag light:
1. Faulty Sensors
Crash sensors and seat sensors play a crucial role in deploying airbags. If these sensors malfunction, the airbag light may turn on.
2. Malfunctioning Airbag Module
Wet or damaged airbag control modules can short out, leading to system failure and the activation of the airbag light.
3. Wiring Problems
The airbag system relies on interconnected wires. If these wires fail, the Nissan Altima communicates the issue through a flashing SRS light.
4. Drained Airbag Backup Battery
A failing car battery may lead to the depletion of the airbag backup battery’s power, causing the airbag light to flash.
5. Damaged Airbag Clock Spring
Located in the steering wheel, the airbag clock spring can wear out over time, resulting in the activation of the airbag light.
2013-2016 Nissan Altima Airbag Recall
In 2016, Nissan issued a recall for specific models, including all 2013-2016 Nissan Altima vehicles. The recall was due to a failed occupant classification sensor, impacting the passenger-side airbag. If you own an Altima from these model years and experience issues with the passenger airbag light, it’s crucial to address this concern promptly by visiting a Nissan dealer for a replacement.
How to Reset the Airbag Warning Light
In some instances, resetting the Nissan Altima airbag light may resolve the issue. Follow these steps:
- Turn the ignition to the “ON” position without starting the engine. The light will flash.
- Turn off the ignition as soon as the light turns off.
- Wait five seconds and turn the ignition back to “ON.”
- Repeat steps 1-3 two times, observing the blinking pattern.
- After at least three cycles, wait five seconds before cranking the engine.
If the light persists, repeat the process or consult a mechanic for further diagnostics.
Understanding the Supplemental Air Bag Warning Light
The supplemental air bag warning light in the Nissan Altima serves as a vital indicator of the airbag systems’ condition. When starting the vehicle, the light should illuminate for about 7 seconds and then turn off, indicating proper system functionality.
Warning Signs and Repair Procedures
If the supplemental air bag warning light remains on, flashes intermittently, or fails to come on at all, it signals potential issues with the front air bag, side air bag, curtain air bag, or pretensioner systems. Immediate servicing by a NISSAN dealer is necessary to ensure these safety systems operate correctly.
Repair and Replacement
Front air bags, side air bags, curtain air bags, and pretensioners are designed for one-time use. Once deployed, they must be replaced by a NISSAN dealer. Maintenance work on the vehicle should be performed with the ignition in the LOCK position to ensure safety.
- Activated air bag modules and pretensioners cannot be repaired and must be replaced.
- Inspection by a NISSAN dealer is required after any front-end or side portion damage.
- Proper disposal procedures, coordinated with a NISSAN dealer, are crucial to prevent personal injury.