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Airbag Warning Light

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Main Forum' started by Metrolens, Sep 3, 2012.

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  1. Metrolens

    Metrolens Junior Member

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    Hi all, my airbag warning light came on yesterday in my new/used 2005 Prius Gen 2, and after a moment of thinking there was a a serious malfunction, I have deduced that it's because I had just put in an infant car seat behind the passenger seat. Evidently any pressure exerted against the passenger seat back causes the airbag warning light to illuminate.

    I've fixed the problem by not moving the passenger seat so far back when I install the infant carseat, but my question is, how do I get the AIRBAG WARNING LIGHT to turn off? Can my local mechanic do it? Dealer? How much should I expect it to cost? It's just a nuisance, but I'd like the light to function properly in case there is a real malfunction with the system.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Can a Prius be a Campervan?

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    For the safety of your child it's designed to turn off the airbag if it detects a child seat. It's very important to make sure this is working properly!
  3. Metrolens

    Metrolens Junior Member

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    Thanks PriusCamper, but that doesn't really address my question (and my infant car seat is in the rear, behind the front passenger seat; the warning light clearly came on because of the forward pressure applied to the front passenger seat when I installed the infant car seat in the rear).
  4. Metrolens

    Metrolens Junior Member

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    Can anyone weigh in on this with some advice? Thanks!
  5. maestro8

    maestro8 Nouveau Member

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    Perhaps you could use the cargo loops in the back to tie the infant down? This would be much more secure than to put them in some cheap plastic seat that's only held in place by a single seat belt.
  6. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    It sounds like Metrolens has managed to arm the airbags by placing something against the back of the passenger seat. As I remember putting my laptop on the seat wouldn't arm the airbag but it would trip the seat belt sensor. Six years ago I conducted an experiment with small light coworkers & I think it took 90 pounds or so in the seat to arm the airbag.

    Tampering with the airbag system can be a felony or misdemeanor so it may be tough to find someone to disconnect the light.
  7. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Can a Prius be a Campervan?

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    Sorry I couldn't help... I think the confusion is what you you call a warning light? My Prius is a 2007 so I guess you have an airbag warning light that I don't have? I don't see an airbag warning light on my dash, just the airbag indicator light that says when the passenge airbag is on, which isn't a warning light.

    If you can clarify, or even take a picture of what you're talking about I'm sure we'll be able to help.

    I also did do a quick search on complaints for 2005 Prius and found what I think is the same problem as you have:

    The following below is from:

    2005 Toyota Prius Airbag Complaints




    Complaint Number: 10418258
    Description of the Complaint :
    The contact owns a 2005 toyota pruis. The contact stated that there was a recurring failure with the air bag warning light illuminating. The vehicle was taken to the dealer several times for the failure where the front passenger seat was replaced twice but to no avail. The dealer then cleared the error codes but that also did not correct the failure. Next, the wiring harness and main computer were replaced yet the failure persisted. The contact believed the failure to be a manufacturing defect. The failure mileage was 80,000 and the current mileage was 107,000.
  8. Metrolens

    Metrolens Junior Member

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    Hi, I've posted a picture out of the 2005 Prius manual of the Airbag Warning light. It looks exactly like this, but of course it's red. Normally, it lights up when you start the car, to indicate that the system is working properly, and then shuts off after 6 seconds.

    Mine stays illuminated, because again, when I originally installed the infant seat (btw, without a baby inside it!), I was trying to maximize the space for the forward passenger, so I slid the front seat back as far as it would go, meaning it was pushing against the infant car seat's handle. I've since moved the front passenger seat forward, so it no longer touches the infant seat, but the Airbag Warning light has been illuminated and now doesn't shut off.

    I read somewhere online that since this is an Advanced Airbag system, there are sensors in the passenger seat track that will trigger the warning light when something exerts pressure on the back of the passenger seat. Or something.

    So now I'm just trying to figure out how to shut the light off. I'm sure the dealer can do it, but I'm not sure what they'll charge, and if it's a lot, what my alternatives are!

    Attached Files:

  9. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Can a Prius be a Campervan?

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    You could try turning the car on and off multiple times or disconnecting the 12v battery for a bit and then reconnect and it might clear? I know that works for other warning lights...
  10. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    I suggest that you look under the seat when the Prius is IG-OFF. There are yellow-colored wiring harness connectors for the SRS system. If you find anything loose, reconnect it.

    If that doesn't help, then I suggest you visit your local dealer.
    dorunron and PriusCamper like this.
  11. Metrolens

    Metrolens Junior Member

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    Can anyone else weigh in? There's a lot of good suggestions here, but nobody has really hit the exact nature of what I've described.
  12. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Can a Prius be a Campervan?

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    But doesn't this sum up your problem?

    It implies Toyota doesn't know how to fix it...

    And with a car no longer under warranty, your option are limited....

    I'm not getting the impression your car is unsafe with the light on.
  13. Metrolens

    Metrolens Junior Member

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    In my case, the warning light was very clearly triggered by the pressure on the passenger seat back. So that would seem to have a very simple explanation and solution - to replace/reset whatever sensor is responsible for the trigger.

    Btw, here is a link to the article I found confirming this explanation:

    Advanced Air Bags and Pressure on the Back of the Front Passenger Seat


    The big question is, is my airbag system in fact still fully operative with the warning light on?
  14. dorunron

    dorunron Senior Member

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    I would tend to agree with Patrick Wong, take your car to a Toyota dealer and ask them determine why the light is on. If you are still in doubt, get a second opinion. The light being on is telling you there is a fault in the system. It could be caused from the pressure on the seat, or it could be something else entirely. I would not second guess a air bag system. Furthermore, I would not consider the vehicle to be safe and that the airbags are working properly with the light being illuminated all of the time.

    You asked for other's to weigh in, that is my response fwiw.
  15. maestro8

    maestro8 Nouveau Member

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    Be careful there. To you, the two events (seat back pressure and warning light) are very closely correlated... but that does not mean one caused the other.

    IIRC, the sensor for the air bag switch is in the bottom of the seat. I'm not 100% certain, but I'm also quite dubious that the seat back has any function in the air bag circuit.
  16. Metrolens

    Metrolens Junior Member

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    Good news - I gently jiggled the yellow wires under both the driver's seat and the passenger's seat - and the airbag warning light immediately went out.

    I did this after calling my car's previous owner, who said he'd seen the airbag light before, and took it to the dealer, who checked out the airbags and said the airbag system was totally fine. He said he jiggled the yellow wires under the seats and the light went out. So it seems there's just something strange/defective with the airbag warning light wiring of my car, or possibly certain 2005 Gen II Priuses (given that someone above suggested the yellow wire jiggle trick too).

    In any event, seems the problem is solved for now. Thanks to everyone for all the input!
  17. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Can a Prius be a Campervan?

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    Glad things are getting better...

    This is a perfect example of why it's better to buy a used car directly from the original owner rather than via a dealer or broker. I wish I had done that... I definitely have some questions about how the previous owner used their car, but I have no way of finding out who they are.
  18. ozerdem

    ozerdem Junior Member

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    After cleaning my car out this morning my srs warning light came on. I read your posts and jiggled the yellow wire under the seat and the light went out. Thanks!
  19. Metrolens

    Metrolens Junior Member

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    This is also an excellent example of how useful a community like this forum can be. When people take a minute to really listen, and really help one another, everyone wins.

    Thanks again to everyone for weighing in.
  20. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    This does raise a concern that the air bag circuitry has an unreliable connection and could be dangerous - what if in a collision it should but decides not to deploy when there is an adult sitting in the passenger seat?
    dorunron likes this.
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