Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for mechanics and DIY enthusiast owners of cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

A little while ago the airbag light on my 1996 Nissan Maxima started flashing. My regular mechanic told me that the airbag was fine, if needed it would deploy, and that the issue was most likely electrical. This is where the problem begins. He said that to turn the light off would require removing a few electrical components, it would take a lot of time, and eventually would require a specific electronic device to access the module for the light and turn it off.

Now, I do trust this mechanic, he's been taking care of the car for 7 years now, got 180,000 miles out of it so far. I am just worried that there might be an easier fix that he would not be familiar with.

Anyone know much about the electrical controls of the airbag in the mid-90's Maxima?

(Side note, I would love to add the tags "airbag" and "warning-light" but I don't have the necessary reputation to create them.)

share|improve this question
If "turning off the airbag light" means disabling the airbag light instead of resetting it, there may be legal liability if you ever sell the car and there is an accident without the airbags deploying. In many cases, an airbag light means the airbag won't currently deploy, and is not just an indication of an electrical problem. – RSW Apr 10 '14 at 17:53

I would find someone else to check out and fix the airbag, while this guy might be great at fixing other things on your car I wouldn't let him touch the airbags.

if needed it would deploy

Possibly depending on what the code is however it might not.

He said that to turn the light off would require removing a few electrical components

This statement scares the crap out of me! You don't remove parts, you replace defective ones

it would take a lot of time

Again depends on the code, if you have a bad sensor it could take 15 minutes to change it.

eventually would require a specific electronic device to access the module for the light and turn it off.

Tells me he doesn't have the equipment to work on the airbags for your car.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the answer Larry! By "removing a few electrical components" I did not mean permanently removing, but that to get to the needed part, a number of other parts would first need to be removed and then put back in afterwards. As to the correct equipment issue, I had considered going to a Nissan dealership, I just wasn't sure if the kids they hire even know much about cars from before 2000. That and Nissan dealerships are rarely cheap. I trust the mechanic, but he would need to bring in equipment that he doesn't normally use. – Justin C Mar 20 '11 at 22:55
@Justin was he able to tell you the code? – Move More Comments Link To Top Mar 20 '11 at 23:05
At the time I was a little short on cash. I had a bad problem with my brakes, and while he was working on it I asked him about the light. – Justin C Mar 21 '11 at 0:02
@JustinC I believe that dealerships are rarely cheap and often oversell what you need done, BUT they are the final authority on how their cars work. There are some things that break on a car that I would only take to the dealership, this being one of them. When your safety is concerned and the air bag being a vital component of your safety system, I would take it to the experts, at least for a second opinion. – Patrick Mar 21 '11 at 21:19
@JustinC The kids at the dealer will have three key advantages over your mechanic - They'll have the factory shop manual on paper or in electronic form which will likely have a troubleshooting tree for the airbag system along with wiring diagrams. They'll also have the proper tool that will identify the specific fault that is triggering the light. Finally, they'll have information on how long the various tasks should take so they can give you a reasonably accurate estimate (or at least best case / worst case numbers). – Mark Johnson Apr 19 '12 at 3:40


Open the driver’s door. Note the rubber covered button located low on the B pillar, a button which is pressed by the door when the door is closed. This is the Driver’s Door Switch (DDS).

Turn the ignition from OFF to ON. Press the DDS at least 5 times within 7 seconds after turning the ignition switch ON. Turn the ignition OFF. Close the driver’s door. Start the engine.

If the airbag warning lamp is still on (or still flashing), there is a fault in the Supplemental Restraint System which must be diagnosed and repaired.

share|improve this answer
What the heck, exactly, is this song and dance supposed to accomplish? – Mark Johnson Apr 19 '12 at 3:41

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.