So my airbag light has gone off twice in the first year of ownership of my MINI. No big deal really, the dealership has always been able to take care of the problem in a matter of minutes. But I've always been curious why it's so sensitive and what's really going on.
So here's an explanation from Jeff take the mystery out of this common annoyance:
It was explained to me that when the connector comes slightly lose WHEN POWER IS ON, there's a very slight (microamp) drop in current and this is what triggers the computer to set a fault and your airbag light comes on. Most cars (not just MINIs) will set an airbag fault if there's a current drop, but apparently MINIs and new BMWs have particularly sensitive systems…a VERY slight drop will cause a problem. This can be caused by rough road conditions, and doesn't require an actual separation of the two sides of the connector. The only way to solve this (besides redesigning the connector altogether) is to secure both sides so tightly that no movement is possible.
So would this be a by-product of the MINI's rather stiff suspension (I'm not complaining MINIUSA!)? I wonder if this problem is more prevalent in the northern parts of the country where out roads are much worse.
UPDATE: Here are some photos of the connectors from Jeff:
You can read more info on this MCO thread