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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Just test drove an 04 Element. Everything was great on it and checked all of our boxes. Only issue was the airbag light on the dash was on the entire time we drove it (with my wife in the passenger seat). The owners are elderly and hadn't driven it in a while. They said they got the airbag recall stuff done but didn't know why the light was on.

What reasons would cause the light to be on?
Worst case scenario, what work would have to be done to fix it? I want to factor it into our purchase price if necessary.

We're having a garage do a pre-purchase inspection tomorrow and I plan on having them check but just wanted to educate myself first. Thanks!
 

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Faulty seat belt or wiring problem, has nothing to do with airbag recall. A Honda dealer should do the repair free of charge. While the light is on the airbags will not deploy in a accident thus no insurance coverage either.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Faulty seat belt or wiring problem, has nothing to do with airbag recall. A Honda dealer should do the repair free of charge. While the light is on the airbags will not deploy in a accident thus no insurance coverage either.
Will a Honda dealer really do the repair for free even on a 2004 car? Why is that?

Does that mean there are any issues with the driver airbag or just the passenger?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Got the carfax and it looks like the passenger airbag recall from 2016 was never done on this car (owner mentioned this as well). So I'm assuming that means Honda will do it for free. Could that be the reason for the light or no?
 

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No, the recalled items will not trip the computer.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Will Honda fix the sensor/light on dash for free? If not, is there a ballpark for how much that might cost?
 

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Not likely.
 

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Will Honda fix the sensor/light on dash for free? If not, is there a ballpark for how much that might cost?
You'll have to find out what the problem is first - most easily by reading the SRS codes stored in your vehicle's computer. Any decent mechanic should have a scanner to read them. If it's related to a faulty seat belt (most common problem) and it's not due to abuse, then Honda should fix them for free. If it's an airbag problem, it can be more expensive than the vehicle's value.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
You'll have to find out what the problem is first - most easily by reading the SRS codes stored in your vehicle's computer. Any decent mechanic should have a scanner to read them. If it's related to a faulty seat belt (most common problem) and it's not due to abuse, then Honda should fix them for free. If it's an airbag problem, it can be more expensive than the vehicle's value.
I had it taken to a shop and it is the seatbelt sensor.
Is there anything in writing that says Honda will replace that part for free? The dealership acted like I was crazy when I mentioned that.

Also, if this light is on (for this reason) does it mean the airbags will definitely not deploy if the car is in an accident? I have seen mixed responses to this when googling.
 

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In the U.S.A. at least, manufacturers are required to apply lifetime warranty to seat belt components. I am a Canadian, but bought my Element in the States many years ago. When the dash light when on for me, I had it scanned locally and it turned out to be the seat belt switch. The Canadian dealers here wanted nothing to do with warranty in this country, so I called a dealer in North Dakota and they replaced the seat belt buckle free on warranty. My family and I were down there visiting anyway, so it wasn't like we made a special trip.
 

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I had it taken to a shop and it is the seatbelt sensor.
Is there anything in writing that says Honda will replace that part for free? The dealership acted like I was crazy when I mentioned that.

Also, if this light is on (for this reason) does it mean the airbags will definitely not deploy if the car is in an accident? I have seen mixed responses to this when googling.
My dealer gave me no backtalk at all when mine did that. Replaced it for free and even saved me a 2 hour round trip for a diagnostic read when I told them the code, said I had reset it several times and how it recurred. My E was roughly 11 or 12 yrs old when that happened. My read is that any related code disables the system but in any event just find a dealer who will do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
My dealer gave me no backtalk at all when mine did that. Replaced it for free and even saved me a 2 hour round trip for a diagnostic read when I told them the code, said I had reset it several times and how it recurred. My E was roughly 11 or 12 yrs old when that happened. My read is that any related code disables the system but in any event just find a dealer who will do it.
Is there some specific reference to the Honda warranty I can tell them or show them? Seems strange that some dealers would honor the warranty and some wouldn't if it's an official part of the warranty that this is replaced for free.

It's going to be my wife's car and it's a safety thing. If I have to take it to another dealer I have to risk her driving at least 20 miles without airbags which I'm not comfortable doing.

But at the same time, I really don't want to have to pay for this.

Any ideas on what I should do?
 

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I have that light on 24/7. I got the recall taken care of and it was free. My light is on due to a faulty seatbelt sensor, which has a lifetime warranty, just so happens that they are always out. My closest dealer is 100 miles away so it doesn’t make it any easier. Hopefully your issue is the same.
 

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Seat belt warranty on page 31. If you are in the USA, If the dealership isn’t fixing a seatbelt, call the USA customer service line On the first page.


it seems too late now, but the airbag light is something I would get the seller to take care of before buying it, unless you could get one heck of a discount on the car.
 

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I have a 2004. The airbag light was on and it was the recall issue. Dealer fixed it. I had a similar problem with the seat belt. It triggered the check engine light and the dealer fixed it for free.
 

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Just test drove an 04 Element. Everything was great on it and checked all of our boxes. Only issue was the airbag light on the dash was on the entire time we drove it (with my wife in the passenger seat). The owners are elderly and hadn't driven it in a while. They said they got the airbag recall stuff done but didn't know why the light was on.

What reasons would cause the light to be on?
Worst case scenario, what work would have to be done to fix it? I want to factor it into our purchase price if necessary.

We're having a garage do a pre-purchase inspection tomorrow and I plan on having them check but just wanted to educate myself first. Thanks!
Assuming you have nothing wrong and you just need to reset the SRS light:

My SRS was on my 2002 Honda CRV and it was a simple DIY...I’m sure it’s the same for Element but most likely it is?

Search You TUBE for Honda SRS light reset. It a matter of pulling the yellow connect free in the fuse area (wire connector isn’t connected to anything in fuse hold area and is just retained there or not connected to the fuse box for wire connectivity...just stored there). Once you free the connector, you put a wire or paper clip in the two connection to short. Turn key on (no need to start car) and wait for SRS light to turn off after 6 seconds, with SRS light off, yank the paper clip or wire. Then in about 6 seconds, SRS light back on, put wire back in...then when SRS light goes off, pull the clip or wire! Done! Better instructions on YouTube with video. You may have to search 2002 Honda CRV SRS Light Reset. I’m not sure why my light came on in the first place, but I brought to Honda for Air Bag recall and got the car back with the SRS light still on! (Yes, they did not give a damn!)

Once you find the yellow plastic tip connector, one green wire and I think a white wire going to it, but just look for the yellow tip connector and remove it so you access to the tip of the yellow connector to put your wire or paper clip. If you don’t get it right, just start over! It was a pain to put the yellow clip back in the fuse area, so I just left it dangling and put the fuse cover back. I’ll put it back next time I take the dash cover off.
 

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My SRS was on my 2002 Honda CRV and it was a simple DIY...I’m sure it’s the same for Element but most likely it is?
It is. Had a 2004. Disconnected the battery to install a radio, reconnected and the SRS light was on.

Following instructions on YouTube, using a wire smaller than a standard paperclip, I was able to reset. Finding the wire was the hardest part. That and timing. it's as annoying as the "chompers" timing on Galaxy Quest.

easy-peasy, compared to what the local dealership wanted to reset it.
 

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2003 Honda Element EX 5-Speed Manual
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Just test drove an 04 Element. Everything was great on it and checked all of our boxes. Only issue was the airbag light on the dash was on the entire time we drove it (with my wife in the passenger seat). The owners are elderly and hadn't driven it in a while. They said they got the airbag recall stuff done but didn't know why the light was on.

What reasons would cause the light to be on?
Worst case scenario, what work would have to be done to fix it? I want to factor it into our purchase price if necessary.

We're having a garage do a pre-purchase inspection tomorrow and I plan on having them check but just wanted to educate myself first. Thanks!
Likely not helpful input, but when mine came on a few years back, one dealer diagnosed it as a bad seat belt sensor and wanted a little over $300 to repair. I ignored it for the most part, then about 6 months later, another dealer fixed it for "free" when I was having about $1,200 of other work done.

Cheers!
 

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Just test drove an 04 Element. Everything was great on it and checked all of our boxes. Only issue was the airbag light on the dash was on the entire time we drove it (with my wife in the passenger seat). The owners are elderly and hadn't driven it in a while. They said they got the airbag recall stuff done but didn't know why the light was on.

What reasons would cause the light to be on?
Worst case scenario, what work would have to be done to fix it? I want to factor it into our purchase price if necessary.

We're having a garage do a pre-purchase inspection tomorrow and I plan on having them check but just wanted to educate myself first. Thanks!
Mine was on for YEARS. Found out during the recall that there was a bad switch in the seatbelt. My dealer said it was covered and they fixed it for free.
 

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Just test drove an 04 Element. Everything was great on it and checked all of our boxes. Only issue was the airbag light on the dash was on the entire time we drove it (with my wife in the passenger seat). The owners are elderly and hadn't driven it in a while. They said they got the airbag recall stuff done but didn't know why the light was on.

What reasons would cause the light to be on?
Worst case scenario, what work would have to be done to fix it? I want to factor it into our purchase price if necessary.

We're having a garage do a pre-purchase inspection tomorrow and I plan on having them check but just wanted to educate myself first. Thanks!
It’s most likely seat belt(I had exact same problem) they will fix FREE of charge(has a lifetime warranty on that part)
 
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