Main question

I have a 2010 VW Jetta. I live in New Jersey. I'm due for a safety inspection in eight months and have an airbag light that's on. As far as the dealership can tell, nothing is wrong with my airbag system, there is just a burned out or short in the wiring that keeps the light on. Will a lit airbag light cause me to fail safety inspection in New Jersey?

Details on the airbag light

Last summer, the airbag light turned on and I had the dealership look at it. They eventually determined there was some short in the electrical system in the floor below the driver's seat area. They fixed the short, but the airbag light remained on. They tested the entire airbag system and found all the right voltages, so they think the airbag system is just fine but that the short had burned out some wiring associated with the airbag light. They're fairly confident the airbag system will work fine but were not entirely sure if the burned out wiring associated with the airbag light would affect things in a way they couldn't predict.

They told me that the only way to fix the airbag light is to replace the entire instrument cluster, a ~$900 repair. I decided I could deal with an airbag light and decided to not replace the instrument cluster. In the 9 or 10 months since then, everything in the car has worked just fine except for the still on airbag light. I also had a different garage briefly check the airbag light when I was in for something else. They were confused when their machine didn't register any error codes when they plugged it in, so this seems to sustain the dealership's story.

  • 1
    I don't know what the requirements are in New Jeysey, but in Finland most indicator lights (stability control, ABS, turn indicators, main beam indicator, etc.) not working cause a failure, but for some reason the airbag indicator light was not listed in a PDF document I found as a cause of failure if it doesn't work. What I recommend is to wait and see. I wouldn't go changing a $900 part if the only thing wrong with it is an indicator light.
    – juhist
    Feb 3, 2017 at 17:56
  • Agree with Juhist - I wouldn't spend $900 to fix a bulb, if everything else is checking out. However... I would make sure that all the visits to garages are documented on paper, just in case.
    – PeteCon
    Feb 3, 2017 at 18:04
  • Airbags aren't mandatory safety equipment, so probably won't get you a failure in a place like New Jersey, which isn't know for being very strict, however you could just call a place and ask. If it were me I'd get a second opinion on diagnosis and price from a non-dealer, air bags are life savers and you shouldn't take chances.
    – GdD
    Jan 29, 2018 at 9:47

1 Answer 1


My car passed the NJ inspection just fine, airbag light and all. So from direct experimentation I know that a lit airbag light will not cause a 2010 VW Jetta to fail a state inspection.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .