Volkswagen Golf/Jetta/Cabriole 1990-1999

General Information



The Air Bag system or Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) is designed to provide additional protection for front seat occupants when used in conjunction with a seat belt. The system is an electronically controlled, mechanically operated system. The system contains two basic subsytems: the air bag module(s) (the actual air bag(s) themselves), and the electrical system. The system consists of:

The crash sensors
The safing sensor
The air bag module(s)
The diagnostic monitor
The instrument cluster indicator
The sliding contacts (clock spring assembly)

The system is operates as follows: The system remains out of sight until activated in an accident that is determined to be the equivalent of hitting a parked car of the same size and weight with the vehicle receiving severe front end damage. This determination is made by crash and safing sensors mounted on the vehicle which when an sufficient impact occurs, close their contacts completing the electrical circuit and inflating the air bags. When not activated the system is monitored by the air bag diagnostic monitor and system readiness is indicated by the lamp located on the instrument cluster. Any fault detected by the diagnostic monitor will illuminate the lamp and store a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC).

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 have 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.
Ensure 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 be made with the negative and positive battery cables disconnected from the battery for a minimum of one minute prior to attempting service or replacement.
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 vehicle's SRS serviced immediately by a qualified automotive technician. A faulty SRS can cause severe physical injury or death.


The air bag system must be disarmed before performing service around air bag components or wiring. Failure to do so may cause accidental deployment of the air bag, resulting in unnecessary repairs and/or personal injury.

The back-up power supply for the air bag is in the control unit. It will drain down by itself after the battery is disconnected but this takes about 20 minutes. Do not use a computer memory saver device. It will keep the back-up power supply charged. If it is necessary to remove the steering wheel, disconnect the negative battery cable and wait at least 20 minutes for the power supply to discharge. To remove the air bag unit, remove the Torx® screws on either side of the back of the steering wheel. The screws must be replaced when removed. Tilt the unit down and disconnect the wire. Place the air bag unit face up where it will not be disturbed and do not place anything on top of it.

  1. Position the vehicle with the front wheels in a straight ahead position.
  3. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  5. Disconnect the positive battery cable.
  7. Wait at least twenty (20) minutes for the air bag back-up power supply to drain before continuing.
  9. Proceed with the repair.


  1. Connect the positive battery cable.
  3. 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.
  5. Connect the negative battery cable.

Ensure that no one is inside the vehicle upon installation of the negative battery cable.

  1. Ensure 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.