Subaru Outback Forums banner
  • Hey everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part of September's Outback of the Month Challenge!
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

Registered
2021 Limited XT
Joined
21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have had this car since April so thought I had discovered most things, however:

This morning when I started it the "Passenger Airbag Off" icon appeared near the right top corner of the center stack. Never having seen this before I stopped by the dealer which was on my way to get gasoline. They were quite confused and said this is normal when no one is in the seat and the "Airbag On" icon lights when the seat is occupied (which the tech demonstrated). When I got home I read the manual and the icon displayed appears to be normal.

So, I guess I am just asking for reassurance that others see this icon all the time and mine just bizarrely decided to come alive after 5 months, or is something else going on?
Thanks
 

Registered
2021 Onyx XT
Joined
414 Posts
The passenger airbag light is always displayed, indicating whether the airbag is on or off. IMO, the light did not all of a sudden decide to display after 5 months, i.e., 'fix' itself. 馃槈
 

Registered
2021 Limited XT
Joined
21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
1) Thanks for your response to confirm that icon should be displayed. Naturally it is good to know if the airbag is working or not.

2) Despite your opinion, I am well aware of the displays in my car, the light is pretty bright and not easy to miss (now that it is there), right next to the Media button that I use all the time and my eyesight is good (just had my annual checkup two weeks ago :)). I asked my wife to start the car and see if there was anything different. She said, does that light mean the air bag isn't working (or words to that affect), and when I asked, she said she hadn't seen it before. So, I know for a fact it wasn't displayed. Glad it is now, though.
 

Premium Member
2020 Onyx
Joined
12,644 Posts
Three possibilities come to mind:
  • The occupancy sensor on the passenger seat is intermittently failing - the reason the airbag icon was off was that the seat thought someone was in it.
  • The illumination source for that light is intermittently failing.
  • Despite personal recollection, "not seeing something before" is fairly common as our visual system ignores a ton of stuff and the chances of two people failing to notice something isn't astronomical. For example I've had the car for almost 2 years and if you ask me where that airbag light is (I know mine is on because I've noticed it before) I couldn't tell you where it is because I've become blind to it - not literally, but I just don't notice it.
The first bullet point could be a concern because if the airbag deploys against an infant in a carrier or a small child in the front passenger seat it could be dangerous. Please let your dealer know about the light not having illuminated when the seat was empty and have them check it. It could be the sensor, or the connector.
 

Registered
2020 OB Limited, Titanium & Magnetite Grays
Joined
1,345 Posts
I confirmation test will be not seeing the light when no one is setting in the passenger seat. Until that time I am going with the "you never saw it because you were not aware of it and therefore not checking for it to be on." There is a field of study, known as Human Factors, that covers your possible oversight. I once worked for a company that had a department dedicated to this subject.
 

Premium Member
2020 Onyx
Joined
12,644 Posts
 
  • Like
Reactions: lidksmy and walker

Registered
2021 Onyx XT
Joined
414 Posts
What are the odds that the dash light, seat sensor, wiring, etc., failed individually or in combination for five months then began working?

I guess we will know if others report the same problem. If they do not鈥.

At work, people come to me for assistance solving a problem. I always enjoyed the people who, as we discussed the problem and identifying possible explanations, would say, 鈥淣ope, I already ruled that out.鈥 They would get offended if I asked how they did that. They were almost as much fun to deal with as the people who would come to me with their solution they wanted us to implement. Asking them to accurately describe the business problem they were trying to solve was an eye opening experience for some.
 

Registered
Joined
10,054 Posts
I had to get in my car and look for where the passenger airbag light is鈥 I wouldn鈥檛 be able to tell you without sitting in front of it.
 

Premium Member
2020 Onyx
Joined
12,644 Posts
I think we should be open to the possibility that highly unlikely things do happen - because they do - albeit rarely. I think the perceptual explanation is the most likely but that doesn't absolutely rule out other possibilities.

One guy had an anti-drainback valve in his oil filter get sucked into the engine and caused oil starvation. Fram paid for the repair (engine replacement), so it's documented - but if someone out of the blue asked me if an anti-drain back valve can get sucked into an engine I'd say it was IMPOSSIBLE.


The moral of the story with the oil filter is to shake an oil filter before you install it, and if anything is loose inside the oil filter, it's defective and should not be installed.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jes2

Registered
2021 Onyx XT
Joined
414 Posts
Agreed, rare things do happen. However, (1) There is no way to know what happened since there are no logs. (2) Occam鈥檚 Razor. :)
 

Registered
2021 Limited XT
Joined
21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Silveronyx, good comment about if the light was not on maybe things wouldn't have worked. Now that the light is on, if it goes off I will take it in to be checked out. That could mean the condition, whatever it was, has returned.

A "final" comment about possibly not noticing it prior to today: I know it is tempting to think that the icon was simply overlooked and I do not take offense to that suggestion. I respect that everyone is helping, and there are some clearly well thought out points and comments. But, I worked at a facility that had triannual Human Factors training as well as extensive training on a simulator exactly the same as the control room, training that required the ability to notice alarms and trouble lights. The dash of the OB is comparatively simple (although often headshakingly confusing ;)). I almost didn't pose the question thinking the situation seemed strange, but my ingrained need to know whether the light was operating correctly or not (a fallout of the aforementioned training) made me ask it.

I appreciate all the comments and time everyone has taken to respond.
 

Premium Member
2020 Onyx
Joined
12,644 Posts
@lidksmy I get that, but there's no need to rush to summary judgement. If indeed there is a rare defect then it should be ruled out, and if the system is functioning as designed with test weights, then the OP might consider it was just a perception issue. But there are ways the dealership can determine if the system is functioning properly or not.
 

Premium Member
2020 Onyx
Joined
12,644 Posts
I worked at a facility that had triannual Human Factors training as well as extensive training on a simulator exactly the same as the control room, training that required the ability to notice alarms and trouble lights.
Did you see the video? Human perception and attention are fallible despite training. I too have experience that would make me attentive to things in a medical setting but perception has a way of changing depending on the setting. I honestly didn't notice it the first time I saw the video. Not saying that you're wrong - just that at the same time that people convinced that you misperceived the light should be open to the possibility that it wasn't that, people who are certain that it wasn't misperception should still be open to the possibility that it was. Glad you're not taking offense because as you recognized everyone is just trying to be helpful.
 

Registered
2006 Subaru Outback Wagon LLBean 3.0R Automatic
Joined
1,149 Posts
my passenger airbag off/on light has a piece of black electrical tape on it. I know exactly where it is cause I put the tape there after I fixed the dome light solder joints..
read all about it

another guy saying the same thing (solder joints in overhead cluster)

bottom line
there is indeed a common fault that causes the Passenger Airbag light to turn off..

while the passenger lights were off,
I was blissfully ignorant, that those lights were supposed to be on, (stupid idea btw)

and I only fixed them to kill the associated warning light that appeared, intermittently, on my dash. I hate stray stimuli.. I also keep my compass off in the rear view mirror

my car is a 2006, I dont know if the OP has the same solder joints in the dome light assembly, but its an easy fix.. If that IS the problem, my broken solder joints were visible under a 10x loupe...
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top