Air Bag Diagnostic Codes

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1989-1991 On the '89-91 systems, you simply count the flashes from the Airbag lamp to get the fault code.


1989-1991
Code Component Fault/Description
2 All Primary Crash Sensors Disconnected.
3 Air Bag Deployment Circuit - Low Battery Voltage or Low Backup Power Supply Voltage
4 Safing Sensor - Diagnostic Circuit Open or Low Primary Crash Sensor Resistance
5 Air Bag Circuit or Crash Sensor Circuit - Shorted to Ground
6 Driver-Side Air Bag Circuit - Open or High Resistance
7 Passenger-Side Air Bag Circuit - Open or High Resistance
8 Primary Crash Sensor - Not Mounted to Vehicle Properly
9 Primary Crash Sensor Circuit - Open or High Resistance
10 Diagnostic Monitor Internal Thermal Fuse - Open Due to Intermittent Short to Ground

In the 1992 model year the systems changed. 1992 System 2 was used in the Taurus/Sable, Town Car (built after 11/5/91), and Continental. To obtain the code on this system, count two sets of flashes and interpret it as a 2-digit code (e.g., flash-flash pause flash-flash-flash = 23)

1992-
Code Component Fault/Description
12 Low Battery Voltage
13 Air Bag Circuit - Shorted to Ground
14 Primary Crash Sensor - Shorted to Ground
21 Safing Sensor - Not Mounted to Vehicle Properly
22 Safing Sensor Output Circuit - Shorted to Battery Voltage
23 Safing Sensor Input Feed/Return Circuit - Open
24 Safing Sensor Output Feed/Return Circuit - Open
32 Driver-Side Air Bag Circuit - High Resistance or Open
33 Passenger-Side Air Bag Circuit - High Resistance or Open
34 Driver-Side Air Bag Circuit - Low Resistance or Shorted
35 Passenger-Side Air Bag Circuit - Low Resistance or Shorted
41 Primary Crash Sensor #1 Feed/Return Circuit - Open
42 Primary Crash Sensor #2 Feed/Return Circuit - Open
44 Primary Crash Sensor #1 - Not Mounted to Vehicle Properly
45 Primary Crash Sensor #2 - Not Mounted to Vehicle Properly
51 Diagnostic Monitor Internal Thermal Fuse - Open Due to Intermittent Short to Ground
52 Backup Power Supply - Voltage Boost Fault
53 Primary Crash Sensor Circuits - Resistance to Ground, or Internal Diagnostic Monitor Fault
Rapid Continuous Flashing of AIR BAG Readiness Lamp - All Primary Crash Sensors Disconnected

If you plan to work on your airbag system, exercise extreme caution. Personal injury may result if you accidently deploy an air bag. The airbag system is live all of the time - it is not switched on and off by the key. There are also backup power supplies. The 1989 - 91 system will discharge in about 20 minutes after the battery is disconnected. The service manual says that it must be disconnected to safely work on the vehicle. The 1992+ system will discharge in about one minute after disconnecting the battery.

Never attach a self-powered test light to any part of an airbag system. If you want to work on the system, acquire and review a manual that covers servicing of the system. Examples are the Air