I've got a 2003 Mazda Tribute that has the airbag warning light come on most days now (the frequency has been slowly increasing over several months). The light now comes on almost every time I drive in the car in the afternoon or evening when the car is hot, but almost never in the morning when it's cool, having been been parked overnight in the garage. Over the past couple of weeks I've tried to capture the blink codes (it blinks with an error code several times before staying lit for the rest of a drive). The strange part is that I'm seeing several different codes, 44, 45, and 46. 45 and 46 mean that there is a signal issue to the drivers and passenger seat sensors, and 44 I think is for some other sensor. I think it very unlikely that multiple sensors would all go bad in just a few months, and the apparent heat-sensitivity makes me even more suspicious that it is something else. After doing some googling, it looks like several people have had issues with the connectors under the seats going bad, and that would make sense with the heat sensitivity, but it still seems unlikely that the connectors would go bad within months of each other after 13 years. Does anyone else have experience with this issue? Is there something else I can check before resorting to costly airbag system replacements?

  • Plugs under the seat are a common fault. Unplug them and check the condition of the contacts, use a small piece of abrasive paper to clean them if they are corroded then plug them back in and hope for the best.
    – tallpaul
    Jun 24, 2016 at 15:21

1 Answer 1


Shortly after I posted this, after starting the car again in the heat and having the airbag warning light come on again, the SRS warning light came on, then the security warning light came on, several other lights came on, and then the car started to lurch and stall. Suspecting a power issue, I quickly turned off the A/C, thinking reducing the power load might at least get me home. Sure enough, the instant I turned the A/C off, most of the warning lights went off and the engine started running normally. The next morning, I was lucky enough to be able to get to the repair shop, where I explained the issues I'd been having. They tested the A/C and the alternator and found that the alternator wasn't putting out the proper amount of power. They replaced the alternator. It's been several days now and none of the warning lights have come back on again. So, it appears that the airbag sensors are just more sensitive to voltage/current issues than other sensors (possibly due to the length/resistance of the wires and their position in the hot cabin and possibly exacerbated by poor connectors). So, anyone having this problem-check your alternator first, especially if you get multiple codes. It could save you some cash.

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