Kia Airbag Light Stay On | Common Problems | What it Means

In this guide, you explain what it means when your Kia airbag (SRS) light stays on, common problems and how you can troubleshoot the airbag light yourself. 

What does Kia airbag light mean?

what does it mean when kia airbag light stays on

If your Kia airbag light comes on, it means that the Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) has detected a problem with one of the airbags, there is a faulty airbag sensor or the battery voltage is too low.

The airbags may not deploy if you get in an accident.

To diagnose Kia airbag light you can't use a generic OBD-II scanner as it will not show any fault codes. You need an OBD-II scanner for the airbag system

Common Kia Airbag Problems

Your Kia airbag light may come on for a number of reasons. The most common problems that trigger Kia airbag light are: 

  • Passenger occupancy sensor (front passenger seat)
  • Airbag module has stored codes
  • Side crash sensor faulty
  • Previous accident
  • Impact sensors damaged
  • Faulty Clockspring
  • Low battery voltage

The airbag / SRS module consists of multiple components, and any of them could malfunction. Without reading the codes it is hard to know the root of the problem.

Passenger Seat Mat

passenger seat mat

Kia cars are equipped with a passenger detection system. It includes a sensor in the passenger seat (known as Occupant Detection Sensor or OBS sensor) that can detect the presence of a passenger in the seat.

The reason for this system is that if a child or no-one is sitting in the passenger seat and you get involved in an accident, the passenger airbag will not deploy.

The passenger seat mat is a common problem that triggers Kia airbag light. Typically it will trigger fault code B1448, B1447, B1448, B1764, B1767  OBS Mat Defective. 

First, check the electrical connection under the passenger seat and make sure nothing is loose or disconnected.

kia passenger seat mat

If the occupant detection sensor is defective it needs to be replaced. The first thing you need to do is call your Kia dealer and check if there is a recall open for your vehicle. 

Low Battery Voltage

kia battery

It is possible that you may trigger the airbag / SRS warning :

  • after you replace the battery
  • if you have had a dead battery
  • jump-started a Kia with a dead battery

In such cases the vehicle detects low voltage and the airbag control module triggers the airbag light.

To avoid such problems, you should always turn off the ignition and remove the key when you replace the battery. Always remove the key from ignition if you are checking fuses and especially if you remove the airbag fuse.

Car Accident

car accident

If any of airbag deployed because your car was an accident crash data would be stored in Kia airbag module.

Crash data stored in the airbag module can not be cleared with most airbag scanners. They need to be cleared by the dealer or a specialized technician. Dealers will most likely recommend replacing the airbag module. 

If you have the dealer diagnose the vehicle in most cases, they will recommend replacing the module. It is possible however to get your existing airbag module reset. Instead of buying a new module consider having a repair center reset your existing module. You can find such service even online, see Kia Airbag SRS RCM SDM ACM Module Reset Service.

These services will clear both hard and soft codes from the airbag module. Once you receive your unit back, you will not need to do any additional programming or go back to the dealer for programming.

How to Reset Kia Airbag Light

To find out why your Kia airbag light is on you will need to read the fault codes from the airbag module. Reading codes from the airbag module is very easy.

For this procedure, you will need an Airbag Scanner that works on Kia vehicles. 

  1. Locate the diagnostic port under the dashboard on the driver's side. kia airbag diagnostic port

     

  2. Plugin your airbag scanner and turn on the ignition. Do not start the engine.diagnose kia airbag light, turn on ignition
  3. Select your Kia then select your model, Sorento, Sedona, Rio, Optima, Telluride, Soul Forte, etc. 
  4. From the main menu select: Airbag / SRS module.
  5. Select Read DTC or Read Fault codes from the menu. Ensure all the codes are in stored status. If any codes are present or current, you need to fix that problem to change the status to stored. 
  6. Once the fault codes show as stored, go back and select Clear Fault codes. 

Airbag Recall

Back in February 2016, Kia issued a service bulletin, which is given to all Kia dealerships service departments, providing information on the replacement of a weight sensor mat, located in the front passenger seat.

Kia extended the warranty coverage for this repair upon the release of this bulletin to 15 years / unlimited mileage, starting from the date of the first service. Coverage will be provided for its replacement provided that the condition is not caused by external damage to the sensor mat.

Kia Rio, Optima, Sedona, Forte owners have complained about the airbag light coming on either intermittently, blinking, or illuminating and staying on while driving.

FAQ

  • PASSENGER AIRBAG "OFF"
    • If the SRS system in your Kia is not working properly the airbag warning light will illuminate in your instrument cluster. When there is a problem with the passenger detection system the PASSENGER AIR BAG "OFF" light will not turn on and the passenger airbag may deploy even if there are no passengers in the front seat.
Kia
Visitor

2013 Kia Rio has airbag light on during driving. Is this year Rio in the list on Recall?

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  • Visitor

    MY 2005 KIA SEDONA HAD SO MANY MAJOR PROBLEMS I DEMANDED A NEW ONE . THEY GAVE ME A 2007 KIA SEDONA EX AND YOU NAME IT AND IT HAPPENED . HIGH PRICED CRAP . MY SONS 2013 KIA SOUL EATS TIRES , THREE SUNROOF ISSUES , AND ENGINE HAS A IDLE FROM SMOOTH TO WHAT APPEARS TO BE A MISFIRE NOT TO MENTION AT ANY GIVEN MOMENT ON HIGHWAY IT WILL EMIT A DENSE HUGE CLOUD OF WHITE SMOKE FROM EXHAUST BLINDING ALL BEHIND IN THE PACK . EASILY PUT I WOULDN'T TAKE ANOTHER KIA FOR FREE . THEY LOOK GREAT BUT THEY ALL HAVE NUMEROUS MINOR AND MAJOR DANGEROUS PROBLEMS AND KIA LIKES TO HIDE AS LONG AS THEY CAN . SO TO KIA I SAY BYE BYE ...............................

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  • Visitor

    Sunju - I would call the dealer and give them the vin number. They will tell you if there is an open recall. Or go to the National Highway Transportation Adminitration website.

    Oliver - Reading and clearing SRS codes with an OBD2 scanner is very easy.

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  • Visitor

    My 2015 Optima LC has the airbag light on, but after trying 3 different code readers, and having o'Reilly check as well, still not throwing a code. Passenger airbag OFF light works just fine.. any ideas? Last resort is the dealer as they want $110 just to try to read a code.

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  • Visitor

    Hi my sportage mk2 has its airbag light on constantly my machanic has put his fault analyser on and it shows no faults. Any ideas? I have had the airbag control module replaced but the light came back on after a couple of months.

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  • Visitor

    My airbag light is on and will not go off. How much will it cost to fix it. I have a Kia Sportage LX/EX 2009

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  • Visitor

    2012 optima Airbag light is on dealer said it was a seat sensor located in the track. You have to replace the whole seat track can't do just the sensor. OK cost is going to be $1300.00 no options had to be fixed to pass state inspection. Now after replacing the sensor they said it caused my airbag module to short out and fry which you can't tell till after you fix the first problem now they want another $700.00 for the module. I just don't understand how a bad sensor killed the module. Is it a 4 to 20 milliamp signal or is it just a variable resistance sensor either way module should have a fail safe built in so no harm would come to the module. So fed up never will we own another KIA product!!!!

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  • Visitor

    Air bag sensor light always on in our 2007 Kia Rondo. The car had only one other owner and has been the best car for us so far. Only now starting to show a bit of rust. No major issues with it really - replacement of a spring and struts. But this sensor thing is maddening. Were told by the dealership the part to replace is over $500. Do we really have to buy this stuff from the dealer? Can they be taken from a used vehicle . . . always supposing a used one can be found. Rondos seem to be one of those vehicles hard to find parts for. Also need new seat belts in the back. Even those from a used car, they want $75 per. Still, we love the thing. Plan to drive it until it till it dies. Just would be nice to get it all up to par without needing to take out a second mortgage . . . jk, but you know what I'm saying!

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  • Visitor

    Do you know what the code B1258 is, I don't see it listed above? The mechanic said it was front impact sensor. He said inspected the connection at air bag module and impact sensor, sensor was cracked causing communication error. $550 to fix.

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  • Visitor

    My 2009 Kia Optima's airbag light stays on. Dealer told me it is caused by a defective seat belt. Will the airbag still deploy? Could a loose connection cause the problem?

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  • Visitor

    I don't feel like reading the article so I'm just going to post my question here and assume that you can magically know all the specifics I left out.
    P.S. DEERRPPP DA Derp!!

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  • Visitor

    Hi can you please advice on how to reset my safety belt after my air bag were deployed now i cant pull the safety belt.

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  • The pre tensioner in your seat belt has ignited. In turn it makes your seat belt get stuck.

    The recommended solution is to take the car to the dealer and replace the seat belt. But that will cost you several hundred dollars.

    There is another solution though. There are companies that will repiar your seat belt for under $100. You just have to remove it and sent it in. See more detials about this soultion here: https://www.youcanic.com/solution/seat-belt-wont-retract-after-accident

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  • Visitor

    If the Kia Soul pushes out white smoke when driving, your engine may be burning oil. You might want to have that looked at. If its a gasket leak, your engine may run out of oil and seize up.

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  • Visitor

    I have a 2017 Kia Cadenza, Everytime I put a seat cover on my front passenger seat the air bag off light stays on when someone is sitting in the seat I always put seat covers on my front seats to protect them even a folded towel will activate this light. Are the seat sensors that sensitive?

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  • Visitor

    If you get into an accident there is no guarantee that your airbags will work. Which it can be difference between life or death. Other that that, the car will run and drive fine. I am not going to tell you drive it or not. It's your call. But make sure to get the airbag light diagnosed sooner rather than latter. You never know when you will need the airbags to work.

    Hopefully never.

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  • Visitor

    If I disconnect the passenger side airbag sensor, does that mean it remains on or off? The reason I ask is because I want to use a cushions with it but this makes the sensor turn off the airbag. It's a 2017 sportage.

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