What is the Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) Warning Light?
The car’s onboard computer will turn on the Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) Warning Light if the system will not operate properly or operate outside of intentions. This system is designed to deploy air bags and tighten seat belts when the computer determines the car is in an accident. In many newer makes and models, the fuel pump will be shut down and the battery will be disconnected to lower the chance of fire. Due to this importance, the computer automatically checks the status of the system every time the car is turned on.
What does it mean when my Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) Warning Light is on?
A disabled SRS system means that the mechanical seat belt is pretty much the only safety device if we have an accident. Even if we feel that we are the safest driver on the road, and obey all traffic laws, the growing number and the increasing velocity of cars make for peril on the roads and all precautions should be taken. The SRS computer also records data much like an airplane’s “black box”, so if you are in an accident, the insurance company may find out if the SRS system was disabled prior.
How severe is an illuminated Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) Warning Light?
Outside of an accident, there is no immediate danger from a disabled SRS system. It will not leave you stranded by the side of the road. All the same, the light should not be ignored. This system contains the safety devices to prevent serious harm or death in case of an accident. Knowing this, spend the time to find a good mechanic, one experienced in SRS work, and give time for the system to be fixed properly. Diagnosis may take some time due to the wiring and electronic device checks that must be made. There are some simple fixes here: a bad seat belt, a corroded crash sensor, or some water intrusion in a connector, but getting to these components will take time.
What is typical cost to resolve an illuminated Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) Warning Light?
- Estimated diagnostic cost = $100-$200
- Estimated part(s) cost = $75-$1000
Expect to pay between $100 to $200 for the initial diagnostic. In this instance, look for reputation versus cost, so do not shop just on price. Many times a good shop will fold over some of the diagnostic into installation because they had to dig down to the component to test it. Likewise understand that the shop might call back for addition time and money to figure out the problem. Parts will be pricey. Considering the nature of this system, very little exists in after-market distribution, so many components come directly from the factory via the dealer, and are priced accordingly. A clock spring or crash sensor may run around $75 to $125, a seat belt with pretensioner may cost you around $200 to $300, and the computer itself could run upwards of $800 to $1000.
Keep in mind, pricing will vary by location and your vehicle make and model. If you're not already, save time and money by using Openbay to compare pricing and book an appointment online with a service center in your area.
Service article written by an ASE Master Technician