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Airbag passive restraints help cushion the driver and passenger in the event of a frontal collision. Also referred to as the supplemental restraint system (SRS), the airbag system is usually found in the steering wheel, dashboard, interior panels, or side pillars.

The SRS has a sub-portion called the passenger presence system (PPS) or occupant detection system (ODC), which is a requirement under US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 208. The PPS determines whether or not the airbags should be deployed based on the occupant’s weight, communicating the necessary information to the sensing and diagnostic module (SDM). If a problem with the PPS occurs, a B0081 code will be logged by on-board diagnostics (OBD).

What Does the B0081 Code Mean?

Diagnostic trouble code (DTC) B0081 stands for “First Row Center Seatbelt Load Limiter Deployment Control (Subfault).”

Deployed airbags tend to increase the risk of injury for small passengers such as children. Because of this, a load-sensing unit is needed to determine whether or not airbag deployment is an option for the front passenger in the event of a collision.

If there is no weight on the passenger seat and the seatbelt isn’t fastened, the PPS will send a signal to the SDM to disable the airbag and keep the passenger airbag light off. Typically, occupants weighing anywhere between 10 and 37 lbs won’t activate the passenger airbag.

On the other hand, occupants weighing between 38 and 99 lbs will usually activate the airbag with a decreased force, while those weighing 99 lbs and more will deploy the airbag at full force.

Note: The definition of code B0081 might be different depending on the vehicle manufacturer. Consult the appropriate repair manual or repair database for the exact code definition.

car airbags deployed
Deployed airbags tend to increase the risk of injury for small passengers such as children.

What are the Common Causes of the B0081 Code?

  • Wiring issues
  • Faulty control module
  • Bad occupant weight sensor

What are the Common Symptoms of the B0081 Code?

  • SRS performance issues
  • Illuminated warning lights

How to Diagnose the B0081 Code

Although code B0081 is a generic powertrain code, steps for diagnosis and repair can vary from one vehicle to another. In some cases, this DTC can come with sub-codes, indicating the type of circuit defect identified by the control module (sub-codes can usually be found in General Motors vehicles).

If you’re not familiar with the process of identifying trouble codes, it might be best to consult a certified professional to help you out. Otherwise, you can go ahead and diagnose your vehicle on your own.

Here is a video you might want to check out before proceeding.

How to Fix the B0081 Code

Without the right tools and know-how, attempting to fix a B0081 code can be confusing and can even lead to further complications if done incorrectly. To ensure that the right steps for repair are being followed, it’s a good idea to have a certified mechanic do the job for you. But if you think you can fix the problem yourself, make sure to have the right repair manual or get vehicle-specific guides like those from Chilton or an ALLDATA subscription.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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