Golf Mk.3 airbag light - Paul Cockram
The driver's airbag warning light on my '96 Golf TDi comes on at startup and extinguishes as normal, but recently it's started to come on again after a couple more seconds and remain lit for the rest of the journey. The handbook and Haynes manual predictably advise consulting a VW dealer (yeah, right).

What exactly does the warning light mean? Is it likely to be (a) that the airbag might not deploy in the event of a minor shunt (which I can live with), or (b) that it might randomly go bang when I'm in the outside lane of a motorway?
Any ideas, please...
Re: Golf Mk.3 airbag light - Smithy
I used to have a Seat Ibiza GTI (1997) and the airbag warning light used to do the same - it may be the same unit. In my case the igniter and sensor had to be replaced which apparently would have cost £600 but for the fact that it was under warranty.
Re: Golf Mk.3 airbag light - Matt
My 306 had the exact same problem. I was told it meant it might not work in an accident. The problem was a loose connector to the seat belt pretensioner under the drivers seat. Peugeot would have replaced the wiring loom under warrenty but I could not face the car being half dismantled and so a cable tie to keep the connector from coming undone has solved the problem for the last 3 years!
Re: Golf Mk.3 airbag light - Andy Bairsto
Check the connection under the seat before you start looking at anything expensive
Re: Golf Mk.3 airbag light - mark s
Could be control unit, airbag or "slip ring"; the connector behind the steering wheel. VW have issued a technical bulletin to dealers regarding air bag lights on & specific fault codes displayed on VW diagnostic equipment. In most cases the cause is a loose connector on the slip ring; usually can be rectified by pushing connector fully home or fitting updated multiplug housing. Whilst airbag light is displayed, the airbag will be inoperative in the event of a shunt.
Golf Mk.3 airbag light - David Lacey
When the SRS warning light is on, the system is in a fail safe mode. It will not deploy in the event of an accident. Basically the system is turned off, therefore it is completely safe.

Rotary couplers (the bit behind the steering wheel) which contain a ribbon of coiled up wire so the steering wheel can be turned and electrical contact can be maintained between the stationary steering column and moving airbag are a common source of SRS repairs for us.

Connectors to the side bags in the seats and to the pretensioners reguarly come off and cause us problems.

On the whole, SRS systems are reliable.
But when they go wrong, they can be very expensive to repair.

Rgds

David
Re: Golf Mk.3 airbag light - Paul Cockram
Thanks everyone for the advice and reassurance. I shall start by taking a look behind the steering wheel, in the hope that the remedy will be cheap!

Paul
 

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