Every time you start your Mazda MX-5, the computer system runs a self diagnostic check on all major systems. If any of these checks fail, you will see a diagnostic warning light on the dash for the corresponding system. When the airbag system fails this check, you’ll see the airbag light.
Depending on the model year and what country you happen to be in, you may get something along the lines of SRS, a picture of a person with the airbag deployed, or the word airbag. All of these should be treated as the airbag light.
Your MX-5’s airbag light is there to tell you that there’s a problem with the airbag system. If it comes on for a few seconds as the vehicle starts, that is completely normal and part of the diagnostic cycle. It’s when it stays on that indicates a problem.
Mazda MX-5 Airbag Light on Causes
Your airbag light is part of your MX-5’s larger supplemental restraint system. It works in tandem with the system to protect you in the event of an accident. If all parts of this system are not working properly, it can cause the airbag light to come on.
If you’ve been in an accident, the airbag light is going to stay on until the system has been restored. It will not work until repaired.
Here are some common reasons that your MX-5’s airbag light could come on.
1. Seat Belts
Safety belts are still the most important safety feature in the event your MX-5 crashes. Modern vehicles have sensors running to them to let the computer system know if they are buckled, and if they are locked up.
If you have a seat belt that is stuck in the lock position, it might be the reason why your airbag light is on. See if you can tug at it and get it moving again.
2. Seat Sensors
The seat sensors tell the airbag system that the seat is occupied. Some older model vehicles have a manual button to turn the passenger airbag on or off.
Look under the seats to see if you can find any part of the wiring harness that has come dislodged or damaged. This is a very common reason why the airbag light comes on.
3. Airbag Itself
If the MX-5’s airbag system is not getting a response from one of the airbags itself in the diagnostic cycle, it’ll turn the airbag light on until the problem has been fixed, and the system has been reset.
4. Airbag ECU/Sensors
The airbag system control unit may have gone bad. If this is the case, you can have it replaced or send for a new one. This often happens whenever you get into a fender bender that doesn’t deploy the airbag.
One or more of the crash sensors may have been triggered, but not enough to deploy the airbag. The airbag sensors can also fail and throw the airbag light on if there is water damage. This is one of the reasons why it is not wise to buy a car with flood damage, even if it looks like it is otherwise fine.
5. Not Reset After Deployment
If your vehicles airbag has gone off and been replaced, the airbag system needs reset. It won’t just work until the airbag system has been reset by a shop, or you send the module to someone who can do it for you.
Is it Safe to Drive Your MX-5 with the Airbag Light On?
It is not as safe to drive with the airbag light on. The airbag system has saved countless lives since its invention. If you do drive with your MX-5’s airbag light on, you are relying solely on the safety belts to keep you safe, which is not as safe.
All of the technology that keeps you from crashing is still there (if equipped), such as the traction control, anti-lock brake system, and blind spot detection. But if you get in an accident, the technology that could save your life is going to be 30+ years out of date.
Conclusion: Mazda MX-5 Airbag Light On
Your Mazda MX-5’s airbag system is complicated. There can be a lot of different reasons why the airbag light may have come on. Most of them should be left to a professional. Just because the vehicle can be driven, does not mean that the problem should be ignored. If there is anything that you would like to add, please leave a comment below. Good luck!