MOT and car air bag light won't switch off

35
Found 8th Jul 2015
I left my car for an MOT on Monday morning at my local garage (that I have used for several years now). After checking the car, I was told that it had failed and needed 2 new tyres, rollerbar, wipers, wiper motor, bulbs and a few other bits, also I was told that they would have to sort out the air bag light that wouldn't turn off. I was quoted £250 (£50 of that was for the MOT fee). Called today and was told that everything had been done except the air bag light and to call later. I phoned late this afternoon and was told that their diagnostic machine was giving out codes but they couldn't work out what the problem was as nothing they did turned the light off. It was suggested that I collect the car and take it to a Citroen dealer to get a diagnostic check done there, as apparently their machines are much better (he was also going on about all of the wires that are involved with the air bag). I called the Citroen dealer and was told it would cost me £101 (inc VAT) for a check to be done.

I told my garage that they should have sorted out the air bag problem first, before doing the other work, as now I have a car that has had around £250 spent on it by them and also now have to pay out another £101 to the Citroen dealer. Because of the age of the car - 13 years old, I was not prepared to spend too much on it for an MOT, but am now thinking that the Citroen dealer could quote me literally hundreds of pounds (perhaps a new air bag unit) to sort this problem out. I actually think that it's going to be ridiculously expensive to fix, and that I'm going to have to accept my losses and pay my garage £250 for an MOT failure that has a lot of new parts fixed to it, the £101 diagnostic check fee and then just scrap the car! I've never had this problem before with my garage, and because I put my car in for an MOT was expecting them to actually sort it all out for me. Not too sure what I can do about this, if anything, if it's going to cost a fortune to remedy, but just wish that the garage had looked at this problem first before going ahead and fixing everything else! The car is still at their garage at the moment and my current MOT certificate runs out on Saturday.
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AskBagCarMOT
35 Comments
try another local garage?
It's not a broken cable in the seat is it ? I know my brother had an issue with his where he use to knee on the seat when leaning in which lead to it breaking.
frenchcarforum.co.uk/for…815
Take the bulb out of the light. Problem solved.
Apogee00

try another local garage?



The thing is that they have failed the car and on the failure sheet corrected everything except the air bag light, wouldn't I have to pay out for a new MOT with another garage or would they accept the MOT failure sheet from my garage? - they might actually find other things wrong with the car! I also paid out for a brand new battery fitted by garage last month as well.
Citroens of this age are well know for the connector under the front seat fir the seat belt pre tensioners going bad. Im gonna say 99% sure this is whats wrong with the car.

If it is the easiest solution is to cut the connector (its only there to enable removal of the front two seats easier) and hard wire them together.

Then reset fault codes/airbag light, and it should solve the problem whilst still have a functioning airbag/seatbelt system.

Or other option is go to Citroen, pay over 100 + vat for diagnostic, then another dealer/stealer fee for parts and labor for an easy fix...

Look it up online you will see its quite a common problem. Seat belt pretensioner connector. Its jot a Saxo by any chance?
the units are normally under passenger seat just check the wiring hasn't been pulled out. My son had this happen had a local technician have a look cost £90 all in for fault finding and repairing
kester76

It's not a broken cable in the seat is it ? I know my brother had an … It's not a broken cable in the seat is it ? I know my brother had an issue with his where he use to knee on the seat when leaning in which lead to it breaking.http://www.frenchcarforum.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?p=235815



I mentioned to the mechanic that my son had released the back seats and pushed them right forwards and down recently, when we took my parents' old sofa in the back of my car to the recycling unit. One thing I did mention to the mechanic, was that when I got the car last year, the seatbelt light was lit on the dashboard and wouldn't go out. About two months I removed the dashboard to replace some of the smaller bulbs and after I had replaced the dashboard, noticed that the seatbelt light had turned itself off and that instead, the air bag light had come on! However, the mechanics said he did not think that my changing the bulbs had done anything - I said that I might have knocked a wire by accident.
Your current MOT is the valid one so your ok to drive it away...go to another garage and say this lights come on...hopefully fix it and then take it back to where it failed for what should be a free re test
As others have said the connections for the airbag are under the front seats. There's a wire that comes down from the seat into a connection and then out under the carpet, it's quite common for the connection to come lose, so try making sure it's fully connected. You never know

Also, try asking the garage for the error codes, no guarantee they'll give these to you, but it's amazing what you can find online once you have the error codes to start with.
From gov.uk

Driving a vehicle that’s failed

You can still drive your vehicle if it fails the MOT and its existing MOT certificate is still valid (ie you got it tested before the MOT ran out).
Apogee00

Your current MOT is the valid one so your ok to drive it away...go to … Your current MOT is the valid one so your ok to drive it away...go to another garage and say this lights come on...hopefully fix it and then take it back to where it failed for what should be a free re test



The mechanic at my garage told me that I had 15 days to get the problem fixed after an MOT failure. I said that I thought it was only 7, but then he said 10 working days. Wouldn't I have to pay for a re-test then? The other thing that I'm worried about is that the MOT expires on Saturday, 11th July, and it's Thursday tomorrow, not sure if another garage would be able to look at it in time, as after 11th July I won't legally be able to drive the car will I? Thank you.
paul1005

As others have said the connections for the airbag are under the front … As others have said the connections for the airbag are under the front seats. There's a wire that comes down from the seat into a connection and then out under the carpet, it's quite common for the connection to come lose, so try making sure it's fully connected. You never know :)Also, try asking the garage for the error codes, no guarantee they'll give these to you, but it's amazing what you can find online once you have the error codes to start with.



The mechanic did say that he could write down the codes for me, but I don't understand, why, if he has the error codes, he can't sort out the problem - when I spoke to him, he didn't really seem to have a clue what the error codes were throwing up.
katchiib

Citroens of this age are well know for the connector under the front seat … Citroens of this age are well know for the connector under the front seat fir the seat belt pre tensioners going bad. Im gonna say 99% sure this is whats wrong with the car.If it is the easiest solution is to cut the connector (its only there to enable removal of the front two seats easier) and hard wire them together.Then reset fault codes/airbag light, and it should solve the problem whilst still have a functioning airbag/seatbelt system.Or other option is go to Citroen, pay over 100 + vat for diagnostic, then another dealer/stealer fee for parts and labor for an easy fix...Look it up online you will see its quite a common problem. Seat belt pretensioner connector. Its jot a Saxo by any chance?



No, it's a Citroen Xsarra Picasso.
It's worth a try getting the codes. There's usually an owners club online for most car types these days, and you can get some really useful advise there. What's the worst that can happen, but on the plus side you may be able to save your self some money.

What Citroen model is it?
Sophiasky

The mechanic at my garage told me that I had 15 days to get the problem … The mechanic at my garage told me that I had 15 days to get the problem fixed after an MOT failure. I said that I thought it was only 7, but then he said 10 working days. Wouldn't I have to pay for a re-test then? The other thing that I'm worried about is that the MOT expires on Saturday, 11th July, and it's Thursday tomorrow, not sure if another garage would be able to look at it in time, as after 11th July I won't legally be able to drive the car will I? Thank you.



My re tests have been free whenever I've needed them, just ask. I try to MOT my cars a couple of weeks before expiry for this exact reason. I'm sure someone will fit you in tomorrow or Friday
Sophiasky

No, it's a Citroen Xsarra Picasso.



Sorry, a bit confused, does the seat belt pretensioner connector and air bag connector work together then? Just wondering, as initially it was the seat belt light that was lit up but that went out after I changed some bulbs in the dashboard - after replacing it, the air bag light came on. If something was dropped in to the seat belt buckle connector (perhaps food/crumbs - I have four children), could that possibly cause a problem with the air bag then?
You got a pic of the light?
Apogee00

You got a pic of the light?



No, sorry, the car is still down at the garage which is doing the MOT for me. Apparently, the boss is in tomorrow, so I might give him a call and see what he says - perhaps he might know what the codes mean. If he doesn't, it looks like I might have to take it to the Citroen dealer for a better diagnostic check, which is an extra expense that I wasn't planning on.
If its just the light its going to fail on then bring the car home, take the bulb out of the dash and then return the car for the re-test. No illuminated bulb, no failure. Then you can chose what to do about the issue without the time pressure.
I have a Megane coupe and twice have had the airbag light come on,it isn't just a light though but large red warning glaring from the dash!.

The first time it came up I shat myself as thought there was a serious problem.
I took it straight to our friend who is a Renault specialist and it turned out the connection was slightly loose. My car is a 3 door and the seats are constantly getting moved back and forwards hence it being loose apparently.

That was about 6 months ago and it hasn't happened since.

As others have suggested I would check the connection
Do you know if any independent Citroen specialists local? I'm sure they may be a lot cheaper than a Citroen dealer.

It may well be a simple fix, it would be a shame for you to get rid after spending out that money for mot if car usually runs ok
Edited by: "takethatfan1978" 8th Jul 2015
takethatfan1978

Do you know if any independent Citroen specialists local? I'm sure they … Do you know if any independent Citroen specialists local? I'm sure they may be a lot cheaper than a Citroen dealer.It may well be a simple fix, it would be a shame for you to get rid after spending out that money for mot if car usually runs ok



My main Citroen dealer quoted me £101, however, I've just found a Citroen specialist in Exeter so might call them to see if they will run a diagnostic check cheaper.
Sophiasky

My main Citroen dealer quoted me £101, however, I've just found a Citroen … My main Citroen dealer quoted me £101, however, I've just found a Citroen specialist in Exeter so might call them to see if they will run a diagnostic check cheaper.


Fingers crossed they might be able to help
yep, good luck, let us know how you get on!
Whatever you do don't just remove the bulb, It's lit because theirs a fault, Resolve the fault as you wouldn't want an airbag going off randomly whilst you're doing 70mph would you?.

As has been suggested 9/10 its a connector under the seat.

Also most auto-electricians or Citroen specialists should be able to give you an idea of what the fault might be and the latter should have the ability to fix.


shauneco

Whatever you do don't just remove the bulb, It's lit because theirs a … Whatever you do don't just remove the bulb, It's lit because theirs a fault, Resolve the fault as you wouldn't want an airbag going off randomly whilst you're doing 70mph would you?.As has been suggested 9/10 its a connector under the seat.Also most auto-electricians or Citroen specialists should be able to give you an idea of what the fault might be and the latter should have the ability to fix.



Absolutely agree If there's a fault then it may be an easy fix. Too many folk out there that just think 'oh,take bulb out or turn light off-problem solved'
Really careless just doing things like that,the lights are there for a reason - to alert drivers of a fault.
I would rather that than cars not having them
I have a Picasso and am 99% sure your problem is the stupid wiring under the front passenger seat. My airbag warning light will come on if this is knocked. Turn the engine off and push the connectors and wires more firmly in place and hey presto warning light gone. If you take the bulb out it will not light up when you turn the key to start it, which in itself is an mot failure.
wouldn't the garage where it's at have tried the wires?
Just thought, I have my car battery fitted under the front passenger seat (my garage also replaced that recently) so would the wires still be in that position? Thank you.
The passenger airbag in my golf started playing up a few years ago and I was quoted >£1000 to replace it. I took it to a local independent who told me to buy a secondhand unit which I found for £20 and he fitted it for another £50.

It was a loose connection within the airbag itself so the light would be reset and then come on again at random points. The problem is that even if you fix the fault, these fault lights tend to stay on unless they're reset using the computer.
shauneco

Whatever you do don't just remove the bulb, It's lit because theirs a … Whatever you do don't just remove the bulb, It's lit because theirs a fault, Resolve the fault as you wouldn't want an airbag going off randomly whilst you're doing 70mph would you?.As has been suggested 9/10 its a connector under the seat.Also most auto-electricians or Citroen specialists should be able to give you an idea of what the fault might be and the latter should have the ability to fix.



+1 for the don't remove the bulb. This in theory should also fail the MOT as they should check it comes on and then goes off. If it doesn't come on at all when you switch the ignition on they will assume a fault condition....
Hallsie

The passenger airbag in my golf started playing up a few years ago and I … The passenger airbag in my golf started playing up a few years ago and I was quoted >£1000 to replace it. I took it to a local independent who told me to buy a secondhand unit which I found for £20 and he fitted it for another £50.It was a loose connection within the airbag itself so the light would be reset and then come on again at random points. The problem is that even if you fix the fault, these fault lights tend to stay on unless they're reset using the computer.



I spoke to the boss at the garage this morning (who is now back) and he said that they had tried to re-set things using the computer but that it would not work. He has dropped the car off with a friend of his who apparently is up on the electrical side of things with cars, so have to call back late this afternoon. Just hope they have managed to resolve the issue by then as I'm losing money over this - self-employed and use my car to drive around the South West to do various assignments (they've had the car since I dropped it off on Sunday) - the boss has also told me that they have had the car long enough and that they really want it out of the garage!
Just been told that the air bag problem has been sorted now after getting another mechanic with better electrical knowledge to check the car out - apparently a LED bulb was causing the problem. However, since looking at the air bag issue, another one has popped up - the direction indicators will not work now. I have been told that they will sort it out asap tomorrow and that I should get my car back then with a new MOT on it - keep my fingers crossed - think they will be glad to see the back of my car tomorrow!
yey! glad it's being sorted
Thank you all for your advice and help, much appreciated. Car is now home, all work done and it has a new MOT with no advisories.
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