Ford Aspire 1994-1998 Repair Guide

General Information


See Figures 1, 2 and 3

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Fig. Fig. 1: The air bag warning label reminds you to observe all service precautions when working on the vehicle

The Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) is designed to work in conjunction with the standard three-point safety belts to reduce injury in a head-on collision.

The SRS can actually cause physical injury or death if the safety belts are not used, or if the manufacturers warnings are not followed. The manufacturers warnings can be found in your owners manual or, in some cases, on your sun visors.

The SRS is comprised of the following components:

Drivers side air bag module
Passengers side air bag module
Radiator primary crash center air bag sensor and bracket
Center cowl safing rear air bag sensor and bracket
Left and right-hand fender primary crash front air bag sensor and brackets
Air bag diagnostic monitor computer
Air bag warning indicator
Tone generator (internal to the air bag diagnostic monitor)
Electrical wiring

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Fig. Fig. 2: Location of the radiator primary crash center air bag sensor

The sensors in the car are designed to detect a severe frontal impact. When at least one of the primary crash sensors and the center cowl safing rear air bag sensor close at the same time, electric current flows to the inflator and ignites the chemicals.

The chemicals burn rapidly in the metal container. This burning produces nitrogen gas and small amounts of dust; both the gas and dust are cooled and filtered during the air bag(s) inflation.

The air bag(s) split the trim covers open while inflating. The air bag(s) then rapidly unfold and inflate in front of the driver and, if so equipped, front seat passenger.

After the air bag(s) have inflated, the gas escapes through holes in the bag(s) as they deflate.

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Fig. Fig. 3: The air bag diagnostic monitor is located behind the shift console


Whenever working around, or on, the air bag supplemental restraint system, ALWAYS adhere to the following warnings and cautions:

Always wear safety glasses when servicing an air bag vehicle and when handling an air bag module.
Carry a live air bag module with the bag and trim cover facing away from your body, so that an accidental deployment of the air bag will pose only a small chance of personal injury.
Place an air bag module on a table or other flat surface with the bag and trim cover pointing up.
Wear gloves, a dust mask and safety glasses whenever handling a deployed air bag module. The air bag surface may contain traces of sodium hydroxide, a by-product of the gas that inflates the air bag and which can cause skin irritation.
Be sure to wash your hands with mild soap and water after handling a deployed air bag.
All air bag modules with discolored or damaged cover trim must be replaced, not repainted.
All component replacement and wiring service must wait until the negative and positive battery cables have been disconnected from the battery for a minimum of one minute.
NEVER probe the air bag electrical terminals. Doing so could result in air bag deployment, which can cause serious physical injury.
If the vehicle is involved in a "fender-bender" which results in a damaged front bumper or grille, have the air bag sensors inspected by a qualified automotive technician to ensure that they were not damaged.
If, at any time, the air bag light indicates that the computer has noted a problem, have your vehicles SRS serviced immediately by a qualified automotive technician. A faulty SRS can cause severe physical injury or death.


If you are disarming the system with the intent of testing it, do not! The SRS is a sensitive, complex system and should only be tested or serviced by a qualified automotive technician. Also, specific tools are needed for SRS testing.

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery.
  3. Disconnect the positive battery cable from the battery.
  5. Wait at least one minute. This time is required for the back-up power supply in the air bag diagnostic monitor to completely drain. The system is now disarmed.


  1. Connect the positive battery cable.
  3. Connect the negative battery cable.
  5. Stand outside the vehicle and carefully turn the ignition to the RUN position. Be sure that no part of your body is in front of the air bag module on the steering wheel, to prevent injury in case of an accidental air bag deployment.
  7. Ensure that the air bag indicator light turns off after approximately 6 seconds. If the light does not illuminate at all, does not turn off, or starts to flash, have the system tested by a qualified automotive technician. If the light does turn off after 6 seconds and does not flash, the SRS is working properly.