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Passenger Air Bag Exploded!!

  182 Blue Top

Clipped a kerb this morning, totally my own bloody fault, alarm didn't go off, rushed to get ready, bit sleepy when driving and mis-judged a kerb stone when going round a corner of a rural road.

Hit the kerb side on, like if I had slowly inched into it with the wheel parallel to the edge of the road, and BANG, almighty pop and ringing in my ears, blue smoke everywhere. Initially i thought I had popped the Tyre or my car had caught on fire, pulled over and inspected the damage which to the wheel is a deep kerb mark and a dent in the side wall which isn't too bad, tyres will be replaced next week due to anyway as the tread is round the wear indicators, tyre fitter can let me know how if at all the wheel is bent.

Car drives straight enough, not apparent pulling left or right, my castor is closer to 0 than 3 degrees currently so still feeling a bit shopping trolley esque, but no noticeable change, what should I check for if I can inspect it properly?

Also, why the hell did the air bag go off?! My car wouldn't start , just turned over , about 5 attempts and 5 minutes of leaving it it finally did start, the air bag warning and service light are on. How do I turn these off, my rudimentary reader picks up no faults!

Will the remaining air bags function if I had a head on crash on the way home, or will I explode into a ball of flames with ZERO air bags deploying! eeeeeeeeeeeeek! :S

It's new second hand seat time i suppose, if i replace the seat, will that cure the air bag warning light and return the car to normal?

I was a bit shocked at the time, mainly due to being half asleep and my ears ringing, so any advice is much welcomed!
  Clio 182
Your airbag ecu needs to be reset now and the light will stay on untill you replace the blown airbag.
Also check the front and rear passenger side seatbelt tensioners as they may have fired and will need replacing.
  Clio 182
Looking how low the seatbelt buckle is, I would say it's fired. New seat time and rear belt may need swapping.
  Clio16v/225 Trophy
As above, the passenger seat unit and pre-tensioner unit have both fired which will have logged "Crash Context" data meaning the SRS ECU will need replacing/resetting (See Tachosoft in the traders section as this is a service they offer). It may also be worth having the car plugged in on some proper equipment to see if anything else has fired (Such as a rear inertia wheel) or if the side impact sensors have been damaged (unlikely but worth checking). It would also be prudent to replace the wiring looms in the passenger seat as deployed units can sometimes create open circuits in the trigger lines themselves.

You will not be able to get the SERV & SRS lamp to turn off until this has all been done - Unlucky Kentucky!

  182 Blue Top
Oh great, I thought I noticed something odd looking about the passenger seat belt, seems like this going to get worse before it gets better!

Seat belt has definitely fired,nothing appears to have happened at the back on any of the rear seat belts, they still work and tension just fine. So basically now, any passengers that travel in my car will have no side impact air bag, but the seat belt still clicks and un-clicks into place so that still works, just no pre-tensioner, not exactly very safe is it?! MOT isn't due till Nov 24th.

Will a new(2nd hand) seat with intact bag and seat belt tensioner suffice, then being plugged into a computer to check above systems, reset and hey presto it's as nothing happened?

Also, that pillow is there to get a bit of lumbar support, I spend over 2 hours a day in this ratbag and the seats arn't exactly the most comfortable!!:dapprove:
  182 Blue Top
So far, from what I'm reading, at a minimum I'm going to need:

New pre-tensioner
Airbag ECU sent off and reset
Plugged into Renault clip to potentially reset the above

The above though doesn't solve the seat issue, won't the light still be on if the side air bag isn't replaced?

So what I really need is..

New pre-tensioner
Airbag ECU sent off and reset
Plugged into Renault clip to potentially reset the above (also to check for other codes)
New seat with un-detonated air bag comps (with or without the pre tensioner)

Will a new seat work with a reset ECU?


ClioSport Club Member
Don't think the 182 has rear pretensioners so it would only be the front passengers seat that's fired.

You can put a resistor in under the seat to make the airbag ecu think there's a bag present. That makes the ecu think a bag is present.

Like this


When you replace the seat it has the pretensioner and airbag already in so a second hand seat will do for part of it. Send the ecu off to the airbag man and fit a new seat, sorted. Clip will just tell any other faults, not reset the airbag ecu (correct me if I'm wrong)

I think your last questions is asking if the seat is coded to the airbag ecu. It's not, any seat, any airbag work together

If you want rid of the seat I'll take it :) My seat base is getting a little tired in the DCI.


ClioSport Club Member

Don't know if this is the part you need or if it would help but I found this in the garage earlier when having a little clear out. Think it's the airbag ecu judging by what it's got on it! Obviously it hasn't been in a crash and had no light on. It's yours for the grand price of £0 if you want it.

  182 ff
Why do you have a pillow in your car?
its an airbag not a pillow ... ha , I think that big rip needs sewing too..
seriously I didn't know my car had a side airbag.. seems a lot to replace over a bag...

why aint the bag in the door? easy to replace then..
Last edited:
  182 Blue Top

Grazo22, i'll send you a pm in a while , looks like we have a match!

KLM, i think he means the red pillow in the background, dickie back! haha

Can someone confirm, that I have routes to follow now...

New seat and with seat belt intact + ECU = problem fixed


new pretensioner + ECU + resistor on wiring = problem fixed

I dont know whether I can live without the passenger side airbag, but considering 99% of the time no-one is traveling with me, I might consider sewing the seat up, contrary to what I have read, it hasn't buckled the subframe and the seat still slides forwards and backwards and tilts front back without issue, maybe because there wasn't anyone sitting in the seat at the time.
  Tornado Red Mk4 R32
its an airbag not a pillow ... ha , I think that big rip needs sewing too..
seriously I didn't know my car had a side airbag.. seems a lot to replace over a bag...

why aint the bag in the door? easy to replace then..
There's a red pillow on the drivers seat.
  clio dci , ren8
The seat can be repaired ;) second hand seat air bag or new if your feeling flush then find a local trimmer who if there good like mine will sew it back up for around £40 then second hand pre tensioner and airbag ecu of the same type . just another option for you .