Is there an OBD-II reader/scan tool that can also diagnose air bag warning light?

My 2004 Honda Element EX has a red air bag warning light that recently has turned on. The nearest Honda dealer wants $109 just to do a diagnostic. I know there are good OBD-II readers/scan tools for about that price. Was hoping I could do the diagnostic myself using the tool, print out a report from my PC, then take that to the dealer.

I prefer to have a Honda dealer do any needed maintenance or repairs regarding the airbag.

3 Answers 3


Readers for air bags, ABS, etc can be quite expensive. You can try searching online for PC apps and cables that might do it. I'm hoping somebody has come up with one by now. Last time I was looking for an ABS code reader for an OBD-II car it was ugly. The device was called a "MUTT-II" and cost $5,000. Even worse, it required a vehicle specific ROM pak, each of which cost $5,000. I decided that I just didn't need my ABS working that bad as the car is only worth half of what the tool to diagnose it costs...

If you can find a cost-effective alternative, please make sure to come back and let us know what it is!

  • @Brian--thank you for the sound advice. Having further searched the internet, I've come to realise that SRS error detection devices are way too expensive for such a rare use on my part. Oct 31, 2011 at 5:02

Interestingly, you can read the code without a scanner. The airbag light or ABS light (and even the check engine light) will all blink the codes when the OBD-II connector is properly bridged. For example if it blinks 5 time slow and 1 time fast you have a 51 code. All you'll need is a paper clip.

This video below will demonstrate how to do it. I just did this and it works great. Once you obtain the code you can go online and look up what it means.


I have a 2005 Honda Element and I was actually able to just reset the light because the sensor misfired. This video will show you how to reset the light:


Vehix411 is a great website for do it yourself videos!! You"ll be surprised how easy it is.

  • Interesting information! I plan to try the paperclip diagnostic, just to find out what the code means. Then I might have a better idea when going to a dealership for whatever maintenance might be needed, though I will probably end up paying to have the official diagnostics. Thank you! Nov 18, 2011 at 5:06

I have an Innova Equus 3160. It reads both air bag (SRS) and anti-lock brake (ABS) system codes, plus provides live data of the vehicle. There are other brands out there as well, though I don't know how well those work. The Equus one I have works great.

There are also the bluetooth options. I'm not sure how well they work, either.

While these are options available, there may be better options out there. Just letting you know you do have options.

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