It can be highly concerning when the airbag light is flashing or staying on when driving your Mazda MX-5 Miata.
When starting up your MX-5 Miata, the airbag light should show briefly, and then turn off. If it does not turn off after a few seconds, it’s a sign that you have an issue.
A flashing or persistent airbag light does not mean that your airbag is going to deploy. It simply means that there is an issue in the system that indicates your airbag might not work correctly in an accident.
For this reason, it’s important to get the issue checked out by an expert as soon as possible. Here are the most common reasons why your airbag light might be flashing or staying on in your MX-5.
MX-5 Miata airbag light is flashing or staying on
If the airbag light in your MX-5 Miata flashes or stays on, it indicates that there is an issue with the airbag or seat belt tensioner system. This means that your airbag might not work properly in an accident.
What’s the difference between flashing, and staying on?
ON: If your airbag light is on, and not flashing, it means that there is no contact with the airbag. It is important that you get this checked out by a specialist as soon as possible, as you might not be protected in an accident.
FLASHING: If your MX-5 Miata airbag light is flashing, your vehicle is trying to tell you something. You can count the flashes and this will give you a clue as to what the issue is with your vehicle.
(Note: if the code is in double-digits, the first digit signifies long pulses. The second digit represents the number of quick pulses that occur after long pulses).
MX-5 Miata airbag flashing light codes
MAZDA MX-5 MIATA NA (1ST GEN) ’90-’93
2 – Poor ground of all D-sensors
3 – Open Circuit or poor connection of power source circuit
4 – Faulty S-sensor
5 – Faulty D-sensor (D-sensor remains ON)
6 – Faulty air bag modules or poor connection of clock spring connector
7 – Poor ground of wiring harness
8 – Poor ground of D-sensor
9 – Open circuit between diagnostic modules and D-sensor
10 – Faulty diagnostic module (System-down fuse burned)
MAZDA MX-5 MIATA NA (1ST GEN) ’94
12 – Open circuit power source
13 – D sensor ON
21 – Poor installation S sensor
22 – S sensor ON
23 – Open connection S sensor feed circuit
24 – S sensor diagnostic circuit open
32 – Open circuit driver side airbag module
33 – Open circuit passenger side
34 – Short circuit driver side airbag module
35 – Short circuit passenger side
41 – Open circuit between D sensor and computer
44 – Poor installation of right side D sensor
45 – Poor installation of centre D sensor
46 – Poor installation of left D sensor
51 – System Down fuse open
52 – Damaged backup battery
53 – Damaged computer
Flashes continuously – Poor connection of all D sensors
MAZDA MX-5 MIATA NA (1ST GEN) ’95 – ’97
3 – Bad power
6 – Driver side airbag
7 – Passenger side airbag
MAZDA MX-5 MIATA NB (2ND GEN) ’99 – ‘02
1 – Computer connector
2 – Bad computer
3 – Bad power
6 – Driver-side airbag
7 – Passenger side airbag
49 – Passenger deactivation switch
MAZDA MX-5 MIATA NB (2.5 GEN) ’03 – ‘05
01 – SAS control module connector poor connection
02 – SAS control module
03 – Power supply of SAS control module
06 – Driver-side air bag module system
07 – Passenger-side air bag module system
11 – Driver-side pre-tensioner seat belt system
12 – Passenger-side pre-tensioner seat belt system
49 – Passenger airbag deactivation system
61 – Crush zone sensor system
91 – Airbag system warning light circuit
If you’re still not sure, here are a few common causes for the airbag light flashing or staying on in your MX-5 Miata:
Check your seat belts
Seat belts were made mandatory on all new vehicles produced after 1973. They are designed to keep you in place during an accident, preventing you from hitting the interior of your vehicle.
If your MX-5 Miata’s airbag light is on or flashing, it could be due to your seat belt tensioners.
Are both seat belts working and retracting properly? Are they stuck in place or locked? It’s a good idea to start here, as it’s a simple fix and a common reason for the airbag light being on.
Underneath each seat of your MX-5 Miata, there should be a sensor or a wiring harness. This sensor tells your car that the seat is occupied, which activates the airbag in case of an accident.
Sometimes, especially when travelling on bumpy roads, these sensors can become un-plugged or stretched.
Visually check under your seats – is the sensor still connected? Does there appear to be any damage?
You can try unplugging and reconnecting the connectors, but make sure that your car battery is disconnected first. You should also leave the car disconnected from the battery for five minutes beforehand, to ensure all reserve power is drained from the car.
Airbag SAS Control Module
In rare cases, the airbag SAS control module might have developed a fault on your MX-5 Miata. You can choose to repair it or replace it for peace of mind.
The module can commonly be found underneath the dashboard. It can be a tricky job and will require some ECU work. In this case, it’s best to get a professional to look into it.
A bad airbag control unit module is typically highlighted by a flashing airbag light code.
Aftermarket steering wheel
If you have installed an aftermarket steering wheel in your MX-5 Miata, the airbag light will stay on until you install a resistor into the airbag connector plug. Correct installation of the appropriate resistor should remove the warning light.
It’s a simple process, which is detailed in this video:
Your airbag has deployed in the past
This is an obvious one, but if your airbags have deployed in the past, it will require specialist work to reset the system. You will need replacement sensors and a replacement control module.
You can also have your airbag control modules repaired by specialist companies.
It is worrying when the airbag light illuminates on your Mazda MX-5 Miata. Luckily, the issue is usually resolved quickly and simply.
Before carrying out any repairs or fixes on your airbag system, make sure that the battery is disconnected and that all reserve power has drained from the vehicle (5 minutes or so).
If you don’t feel confident in diagnosing the problem, take your car to an expert. Airbags are a hugely important safety component that should work properly at all times. It might just save your life one day.
Have you had any experience with the dreaded airbag light on your MX-5 Miata? Let us know below!