Your airbag system serves as secondary protection during a crash. Another name for the airbag system, then, is the Supplemental Restraint System (SRS). As the name suggests, your airbags are only a supplement to seat belt restraints, which lock in place during high-speed accidents.

An SRS warning light looks like the side view of a person sitting with a seat belt and a large circle in front. It indicates a problem with your airbag systems. Diagnosing issues like these might be easy for regular cars, but for Volvos, it can be difficult.

We don’t expect anyone to fix crucial problems like SRS malfunction themselves, but we want to explain why this light illuminates on your dashboard. Be sure to bring your Volvo into our shop if you notice your Volvo’s SRS warning light persisting.

What causes the SRS light to come on?

A few reasons explain an SRS warning light, but we’ll keep things simple: Any fault or error in the system will trigger the SRS warning light to turn on. A quick test on startup will help you confirm this. If, after 3-5 seconds, the SRS warning light does not turn off, the system has detected a problem, and your SRS computer will disable the entire system.

The SRS system controls all airbags in your vehicle. Airbags won’t inflate during a high-speed collision if the system is disabled. While this won’t affect your car’s functionality, that doesn’t mean you’re safe to drive around! Furthermore, the SRS includes a black box similar to the ones found on airplanes. It records every single aspect of a crash, including whether the SRS warning light was on before you began driving. Insurance companies will use this if you intend to file a claim for personal injury.

Some Causes of SRS Failure in Volvo

Here are some reasons your Volvo has disabled your SRS:

  • A recent crash. You might’ve had an accident recently that didn’t result in airbag deployment. This can cause problems with the SRS computer, and it will need a technician to reset it.
  • A depleted SRS battery. A backup battery supports your car’s airbag system if your main battery fails or dies. If the main battery has shorted, drained, or anything else which causes electrical problems, it can also drain the SRS backup battery with it. Usually, a recharge of the main battery will fix this, but sometimes this solution isn’t enough.
  • Water damage. Condensation and high humidity can play a hand in shorting the SRS electrical components. Leaving your window open during a downpour, in addition to making your car smell rancid, can allow moisture to seep into the SRS airbag units around your car’s cabin.
  • Faulty clock spring. Inside your steering wheel is a clock spring that routes all electronic current from buttons and levers on your steering wheel. It helps power volume controls, cruise control, the horn, and also the driver-side airbag ejector. If the cabling or fuses have worn out on the clock spring, the SRS warning light will power on, signaling an error with the connection. This is an easy symptom to spot if any of the controls mentioned above aren’t functioning either.
  • Seat Belt latches are malfunctioning. The cause of SRS warning lights can also be a problem with shoddy seat belt sensors. These lights turn off when you fasten your seatbelt, but a problem with the seat belt latch itself can throw off the sensors. If you can’t figure out why the latch isn’t detecting a seat belt fasten, then you should bring your Volvo in for an expert diagnosis.
  • A bad SRS computer. A broken SRS computer is much less common, but it’s the most expensive type of repair you’ll face with your SRS. The entire SRS operates from this module.

Cerrone’s European to Reset or Replace your SRS System

We highly recommend that trained technicians complete all SRS repairs on your Volvo instead of the average car owner. It’s easy to damage one or more parts of the SRS system and add onto an already expensive repair.

For services you can trust, bring your Volvo into Cerrone’s European. We are certified technicians that assist all residents in Redwood City, CA. Call today to schedule a service and enjoy our top-notch repairs with a smile guaranteed.