How to Reset BMW E36 Airbag with Inpa or OBD2 Scanner?

Car model and year: BMW E36 1996 – 2002


Symptom: Seats airbag light on

Take the seats out and have them reupholstered why the car is sitting. I ended up starting the car during the procedure of removal. Now the seats are out and the airbag light is on


How to reset BMW E36 Seats airbag light on?

You need INPA or a diagnostic tool (I.E nt530) to clear it. Airbag lights are not self-clearing. Once the cluster light illuminates the error needs to be corrected (reattach the wiring in this case) and the trouble code erased.


Which current market tools can read the error codes?

  1. Inpa: Confirmed

INPA software has reset the light a few times. That’s why I loaded it onto an old laptop. It’s free, except for cost of cables, about $20. Here’s the inpa cable link:


INPA is a factory tool that BMW still uses today. Not dealer, factory. We have access to an older version that snuck out the side door years ago. It provides all the functionality you could need or ask for for this era of BMW. Of course, it needs to be installed on a laptop, but compatible machines can be obtained very cheaply if you dont have one just laying around.


  1. The Peake tool: has bug

The Peake tool is NLA, the entire company is gone… about a decade too late. It is a 1980’s grade tool that they kept trying to limp into this century with marketing. The Chinese offering off Aliexpress and Amazon/eBay is a clone of the Peake circuitry and software. It has a nasty bug in it that has cost many people much time and $$$ chasing the wrong fault. That bug was copied from the Peake tool.


  1. N530 BMW scanner: Confirmed

I have the N530 tool and it also resets the SRS light as well as OBD2, maintenance minder, and other modules. Not as capable as INPA but it is a self contained handheld unit and doesn’t require a laptop.
I just sold my Peake SRS tool.



PS: Get a 530 tool along with the round 20 pin connector for about $170 and you will have a capable scan tool for this and future work.


Good luck!