Should I turn off the SRS light on the instrument panel on my 2003 Honda?
October 28, 2010 7:14 PM   Subscribe

The SRS light on my 2003 Honda Civic comes on when the ignition is turned on and remains on while the car is being driven. I googled this and understand that Hondas as well as other cars have this problem. I can take it to a mechanic to have it diagnosed and repaired. Or I can turn it off myself which I'm tempted to do since it appears that Honda has a faulty system that has nothing to do with the airbag --just the light. But there is a small part of me that wonders and is concerned if something could be wrong with the airbag. Does anyone have experience with this?
posted by Tziv to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total)
It shouldn't cost very much for a mechanic to plug the car into the diagnostic system and see what's triggering the light. Certainly something could be wrong with the airbag: that's what the light is there to tell you.
posted by zachlipton at 7:36 PM on October 28, 2010

I had this on my old accord. My mechanic told me it should work fine in the event of a crash. It was a decently old car when I got it so I let it be. Will the car run fine? Probably. When I thought about having it replaced my mechanic told me it would be about a thousand dollars. Do what you want, I eventually got mine replaced and would recommend you do the same to be safe.
posted by DJWeezy at 7:46 PM on October 28, 2010

Our 2001 Honda Accord's SRS light has been on for a few years; we had it checked out, and it's a defective sensor. The mechanic led us to believe that if we took it to a Honda dealer, they ought to fix it free of charge since it's a safety issue, but we've never followed up, so I don't know if that's really the case. Me? I'm not worried about my car or my safety, but even if 100 strangers on the internet tell you that their cars have defective sensors, that doesn't mean your car has a defective sensor; for all we know, your seat belts might be defective.
posted by ellenaim at 8:09 PM on October 28, 2010

It can be quite a number of things, apparently. In my case, it was a defective seatbelt buckle.

I had assumed I had somehow fucked up the passenger side airbag when I took the glove compartment out, because the light came on shortly after that. But apparently that wasn't it, at all. Replacing the seatbelt cost me rather more money than I feel like it should have, but it was 3/4 the part cost and only 1 hour of labour, so I guess it probably wasn't a total rip-off. I guess having crash-sensitive seatbelts makes them expensive.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:16 PM on October 28, 2010

Dammit, my boyfriend just went to bed and he's a Honda mechanic. I'll ask him for you tomorrow and post the answer here as soon as I get it.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 8:29 PM on October 28, 2010

We had this problem with our 2002 Accord last year. Our mechanic told us that it was something wrong with the seatbelt sensor - That freaked me out sufficiently that I didn't mess around. I went straight to the dealer and they replaced it for free in two hours. Apparently it is a fairly common problem. The dealer didn't bat an eye, and if it matters to you, we bought the car used and still didn't have any problems getting it replaced under warranty.
posted by LyndsayMW at 10:24 PM on October 28, 2010

My 2002 Civic got hit by lightning once and the SRS light came on; the airbag computer was fried. Later, it came on again and we had to replace the driver's side seatbelt.

So, you know, it could be a couple of things. I wouldn't ignore it.
posted by sugarfish at 11:31 PM on October 28, 2010

The light exists to warn the driver that something is wrong. There might be something wrong with the actual safety system, or there might be something wrong with the warning system. You don't know which situation you're facing, and you can't know without having a well-equipped shop do some diagnostic work for you. The internet does not know what is or isn't wrong with your car, because the internet is not plugged into your car. Make an appointment and have it looked at.
posted by jon1270 at 3:39 AM on October 29, 2010

We had the same problem with our Accord. I pointed it out to a mechanic when I brought it in for a maintenance issue. He checked it and said there was a sensor problem as others above have mentioned but that it had to be fixed at a dealer under the warranty. It was fixed quickly and for free. Very easy to get done.
posted by Athanasius at 7:30 AM on October 29, 2010

My Honda mechanic boyfriend said that 9 times out of 10 it's just a seat belt buckle issue. He said to take it to the dealership since it's covered under the lifetime warranty and they can fix it for free. He says that he replaces seat belt buckles all the time.

How's your battery? He said that there's a chance that if your battery is weak and dying, it could set a code for the SRS control unit.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 2:39 PM on October 29, 2010

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