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Old 18th April 2015, 15:18   #1
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Default 5 year old Skoda Fabia: Dealer wants to change entire Airbag system!

This concerns my friend's Fabia 1.2Petrol's Airbag Warning Light coming on and Skoda's feedback on the same.
The vehicle is currently located at Chennai. It is a 5 year old Fabia, covered around 75,000kms, single owner, impeccably maintained and always serviced at Skoda Authorised Service points. The vehicle has not met with any accident till date.
Recently the Airbag warning light came on while driving. Car was running normally, no abnormalities detected.

Vehicle was despatched immediately to Skoda service and they came back saying that the entire Driver side airbag system including the Airbag Control Unit has to be replaced. Cost 45,000 rupees + labour and taxes. As vehicle is 5 years old, nothing can be done under warranty.
Now, our point is:
> Airbag systems are designed to last a vehicle's life cycle. Minimum 10 years? Why and how did it fail?

> Being a critical safety system, the warranty on such systems is always greater, in number of year terms, compared to the vehicle warranty. Why cannot the subsystem warranty be invoked to provide succour to the customer?

> When we requested the dealer, Gurudev Motors, in Chennai to give the reasons for non replacement under warranty in writing, they are unwilling to do so.
If the reasons they say are genuine and truthful, then where is the problem of putting things down in black and white?
Does this mean, that Airbag System warranties can be claimed even if the vehicle warranty is out - hence the dealer is getting cold feet in writing things down?

Greatly appreciate feedback & advise from T-Bhp'ians. Also can anyone give us any email id of any senior person at Skoda who can clarify things?

Thanks in advance for all the help!
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Old 18th April 2015, 15:28   #2
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Default re: 5 year old Skoda Fabia: Dealer wants to change entire Airbag system!

It is the laziness or incompetency of the ASC which keeps them from getting down to the actual fault. If the vehicle has not met with any accident, I do not see any reason that why the entire SRS should be a candidate for replacement. It is in all probability an electronic fault that needs good diagnostic skills to pin point the problem. It can be something as simple as rat-bitten wire to something bigger like crash sensor or actuator going kaput. Take it to some other Skoda ASC and see if they can isolate the problematic part. The specific diagnostic tool may be needed to be hooked up for the purpose.

Regards.
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Old 18th April 2015, 17:18   #3
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Default re: 5 year old Skoda Fabia: Dealer wants to change entire Airbag system!

Try checking and re inserting all fuses one by one. Worked for me.
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Old 18th April 2015, 17:54   #4
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Default re: 5 year old Skoda Fabia: Dealer wants to change entire Airbag system!

You could also look at VCDS/diagnostic tool to pin point to the exact problem. It should not be anything serious IMO
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Old 18th April 2015, 21:00   #5
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Default re: 5 year old Skoda Fabia: Dealer wants to change entire Airbag system!

Quote:
Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
It is the laziness or incompetency of the ASC which keeps them from getting down to the actual fault.
Take it to some other Skoda ASC and see if they can isolate the problematic part. The specific diagnostic tool may be needed to be hooked up for the purpose.
Regards.
You are right. And matters are made worse by the fact that Chennai is a single SKODA dealership city ! When we asked them, that even if i cough up 45grand to get the ACU (Airbag Control Unit) replaced, can they guarantee this problem will be eliminated once and for all? They were actually hesitant to answer or give any commitment!
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Old 20th April 2015, 17:45   #6
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Default Re: 5 year old Skoda Fabia: Dealer wants to change entire Airbag system!

First figure out what is the actual issue, diagnostic tool would throw some light on this. Based on that will have to arrive at a solution, sometime this might be due to a minor lose contact so a resetting and checking all the wiring/fuse etc is also a good option to begin with.

If the dealer is not cooperative, contacting manufacturer will be a good idea.

Yes these systems should not fail as long as it is not tampered, since there is almost no wear and tear on them.
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Old 20th April 2015, 19:11   #7
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Default Re: 5 year old Skoda Fabia: Dealer wants to change entire Airbag system!

Quote:
Originally Posted by arjab View Post
Vehicle was despatched immediately to Skoda service and they came back saying that the entire Driver side airbag system including the Airbag Control Unit has to be replaced.
How did they come to this conclusion? Any reports or scan data?

Try resetting the ECU by disconnecting the battery fir 5-10 minutes and see if the light re-appears.

What I suggest you to do is take the car to a competent mechanic and hook it up onto an OBD reader or may be VCDS that should scan the ECU and all other units for errors. If there is one it should be cleared.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arjab View Post
> Airbag systems are designed to last a vehicle's life cycle. Minimum 10 years? Why and how did it fail?
Agreed!

I feel the case of a sensor being faulty or may be a dying battery that isn't supplying the required voltage to the sensor that could be giving out erratic reading inputting the ECU leading to the warning lamp on the instrumentation console.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arjab View Post
> Being a critical safety system, the warranty on such systems is always greater, in number of year terms, compared to the vehicle warranty. Why cannot the subsystem warranty be invoked to provide succour to the customer?
Honouring the regular warranty by Skoda itself is a great thing to be done and you are expecting them to get the Airbag unit replaced for Free after the car is 'actually' out of warranty?! You are expecting too much IMO!

Quote:
Originally Posted by arjab View Post
> When we requested the dealer, Gurudev Motors, in Chennai to give the reasons for non replacement under warranty in writing, they are unwilling to do so.
+

Quote:
Originally Posted by arjab View Post
Does this mean, that Airbag System warranties can be claimed even if the vehicle warranty is out - hence the dealer is getting cold feet in writing things down?
IMO, no manufacturer would give it in writing or even entertain because the manufacturers warranty is for 40K/2 years whichever is earlier and IF one buys extended warranty then till it lasts the car is eligible for free replacement of parts that come under the umbrella of acceptance by the manufacturer.

To be frank I haven't heard of any manufacturer honouring warranty for Airbags/ABS units post expiry of the cars warranty (Including extended warranty).

Last edited by a4anurag : 20th April 2015 at 19:13.
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Old 20th April 2015, 19:33   #8
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Default Re: 5 year old Skoda Fabia: Dealer wants to change entire Airbag system!

Quote:
Originally Posted by arjab View Post
...Airbag Warning Light coming on...
How typical of a Skoda service centre, to want to fleece customers like this!

First, a few questions:
- How old is the battery? Was its cranking voltage checked recently? Was the battery left disconnected for a particularly long time recently?

- Was the steering wheel opened up & removed in the recent past for any repair / servicing?

- Was a scanning done? What was the fault code? If you don't have the code, ask someone with an OBD-II or VCDS scanner to find out (not necessarily at the Skoda authorised service centre). Please post the same on this thread.

If the battery condition is perfectly fine, my suspicion would be on a faulty clockspring. With the car running, turn the steering from lock to lock both ways a few times (you might want to jack up both the front wheels). Then, switch off and either reset the fault code with a VCDS scanner, or disconnect the battery for 30-60 minutes and reconnect. If the airbag light still persists, take the car to a reliable FNG (who knows how to handle airbag-equipped cars), and ask them to test the continuity of the clockspring. Replacing this part is way cheaper than replacing the whole airbag module, and should sort out the airbag light problem.

Edit: Also check whether the connectors for the seatbelt pre-tensioners under the front seats are firm or loose. Open them up, clean and connect them back again (with the battery disconnected).

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 20th April 2015 at 19:44.
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Old 20th April 2015, 20:44   #9
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Default Re: 5 year old Skoda Fabia: Dealer wants to change entire Airbag system!

If the car has not been in any kind of crash or collision, then there is no good reason for it to malfunction.

This is a know problem in older BMWs where the airbag light come on if you drive through a large puddle. What the system is telling you is to check to make sure everything is OK. It has performed a diagnostic check and is not happy with everything it sees

My suggestion, reset the light and see if it comes back. Very likely it wont
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Old 20th April 2015, 21:35   #10
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Default Re: 5 year old Skoda Fabia: Dealer wants to change entire Airbag system!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
First, a few questions:
- How old is the battery? Was its cranking voltage checked recently? Was the battery left disconnected for a particularly long time recently?
Battery is less than 6 months old. Charging voltage 14.2. Cranking voltage: 12.1. Vehicle is used everyday for a daily run of 25kms.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
- Was the steering wheel opened up & removed in the recent past for any repair / servicing?
Nope

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Was a scanning done? What was the fault code? If you don't have the code, ask someone with an OBD-II or VCDS scanner to find out (not necessarily at the Skoda authorised service centre). Please post the same on this thread.
My friend who took it to the Skoda Authorised service station, says the Skoda personnel said that scanning had been done. I will ask for the report/fault code and revert.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
If the battery condition is perfectly fine, my suspicion would be on a faulty clockspring.
I also am thinking of the same thing. Worth a check.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
With the car running, turn the steering from lock to lock both ways a few times (you might want to jack up both the front wheels). Then, switch off and either reset the fault code with a VCDS scanner, or disconnect the battery for 30-60 minutes and reconnect. If the airbag light still persists, take the car to a reliable FNG (who knows how to handle airbag-equipped cars), and ask them to test the continuity of the clockspring. Replacing this part is way cheaper than replacing the whole airbag module, and should sort out the airbag light problem.
Edit: Also check whether the connectors for the seatbelt pre-tensioners under the front seats are firm or loose. Open them up, clean and connect them back again (with the battery disconnected).
Will do. My friend is getting the car to my place this weekend. Thanks a ton for all the help and the suggestions.Will Keep you updated !
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Old 20th April 2015, 22:02   #11
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Default Re: 5 year old Skoda Fabia: Dealer wants to change entire Airbag system!

Like mentioned earlier,

Please see the exact fault code from the scan, that should give you a better idea.

Have you been dealing with senior personnel in the dealership? If not I suggest you try reasoning with them first.

If that doesn't work also write to Skoda, and the MD.

I personally think an airbag failure should be done under goodwill warranty.
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Old 21st April 2015, 11:52   #12
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Default Re: 5 year old Skoda Fabia: Dealer wants to change entire Airbag system!

I would do exactly as SS-Traveller suggests. You definitely don't need a replacement of the whole airbag system. It is definitely a much smaller problem not being pointed out.
Do get the clockspring continuity tested out. In all likelihood that is where the problem lies.
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Old 21st April 2015, 12:23   #13
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Default Re: 5 year old Skoda Fabia: Dealer wants to change entire Airbag system!

Please do the Autoscan using VCDS and upload the result from the saved log in the .txt file here.

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Old 21st April 2015, 19:20   #14
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Default Re: 5 year old Skoda Fabia: Dealer wants to change entire Airbag system!

There's a pad in the driver seat with wires connected. Any disconnection of these wires will lead to air bag light. Please check.
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