Understanding ABS light  

Vehicles with ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) have better control and stability since it helps prevent wheel lock-up during heavy braking. The ABS light will automatically come on when you start the vehicle. This is due to the fact that your car always tests the ABS system before starting; if there are no issues, the light will go off. If the light continues to illuminate, there is an issue with your car’s anti-lock brake system.

ABS light

In order to prevent lock-up, the ABS system continuously monitors wheel speed and adjusts the brake pressure applied to each wheel as necessary. Sensors that are mounted on each wheel measure how fast the wheels are spinning when ABS is engaged. If one of the wheels is turning more slowly than the others while braking, it is likely to lock up, which could lead to skidding and a loss of steering control.

ABS is intended to step in by quickly “pumping” the brakes at the wheel that is locking up, allowing it to spin and retaining steering and braking control for the driver. This system can be very helpful, especially when it’s icy outside or it’s raining a lot and the roads are slippery.

Well, in this article, we’ll be looking at the meaning, safety, causes, and how to reset the ABS light. We’ll also get to discuss the frequently asked questions about the ABS light.

Read more: Understanding the working of anti-lock braking system (ABS)

Without wasting any more time, let’s get to it.


What does the ABS light mean?

When the ABS light is illuminated, it indicates that there’s an issue with the anti-lock braking system. The ABS system is intended to enhance vehicle control by assisting in preventing wheel lock-up during hard braking. A defective ABS sensor, an issue with the ABS control module, or a broken ABS hydraulic unit are a few possible causes for the ABS light to illuminate.

What does the ABS light mean?

The ABS light normally appears on your car’s dashboard as a circular symbol with the letters “ABS” inside, usually in red, yellow or orange light. Depending on the brand and model of your car, the ABS light may appear differently than other warning lights like the check engine light. However, it is typically recognizable as a yellow or red warning light that is separate from other warning lights.

The moment the ABS light illuminates, you should stop the car in a secure location, turn off the engine, and then start it. Then the computer will assess all of the sensors for any anomalies. The light may turn off if you do a simple reset, just like you would on your personal computer.

It’s not always so simple, though, as the system can be faulty and needs to be diagnosed most of the time. The best course of action is to have a qualified mechanic connect a scan tool to the vehicle and check any existing trouble codes.

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Can one drive with the ABS light on?

It is not recommended to drive with the ABS light on since it denotes an ABS system problem. In emergency situations, the ABS system is intended to help prevent wheel lockup and enhance braking ability. Your ABS system would not operate as it should if it were malfunctioning, and you might have less control over your car during hard braking. This could extend your stopping distance and increase collision risk.

Furthermore, driving the vehicle while the warning light is on can cause additional damage to the ABS system as well as other components. It is advised that, if the ABS light comes on, you have the ABS system examined and fixed as soon as possible to guarantee your safety and the proper operation of your vehicle. The warranty on your vehicle may also be voided if you keep driving with the ABS light on, so it is important to fix the problem right away.

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What causes the ABS light to come on?

Here are the most common things that cause the ABS light to come on:

Defective ABS Module or Wirings

The most common and possibly correct reason why your ABS light may come on is a defective ABS control module or corroded wires. ABS module may develop problems. The wiring itself, though, might also be at fault. Corrosion on these cables could delay or prevent communication between the ABS module and speed sensor. If the vehicle only required updated wiring, that would be better.

However, if you’re unlucky, you could have to replace the ABS module, which is substantially more expensive. You should observe a lack of braking response with either issue. It might only be noticeable occasionally at first, but it should keep getting worse. Additionally, it’s possible for the brakes to lock up or for you to notice some clicking.

Bad wheel speed sensor

A wheel speed sensor measures how fast the wheels are moving and sends that information to the ECU. The ECU will determine how to utilize the ABS based on this information. When the ECU detects that one of the wheels is rotating more quickly than the other, it will release more brake fluid, causing the wheel to slow down and enhance traction on the road.

The ECU won’t get accurate information if the speed sensor fails, which will cause the ABS light to come on. In order to measure how fast the wheels are moving, the speed sensor is situated very close to them. Due to its position near the brakes and exposure to excessive heat, it sustains serious damage. Additionally, it may sustain damage from metal shavings or other material that comes off the brakes.

Defective hydraulic pump

Another reason why your ABS light may come on is that a defective hydraulic pump and the brake fluid that passes through it must be under the control of the ABS system. When the brake pedal is depressed, this pump is in charge of forcing brake fluid through the cylinder, where it is supplied to the brakes.

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Based on the speed sensor measurement, the ABS system additionally modifies the amount of braking pressure applied to each wheel. With this knowledge, the right quantity of fluid may be supplied to the brakes, where it is most needed. This system typically functions as intended.

However, the hydraulic system’s valve could malfunction or the hydraulic pump could stop working. Both of these situations are undesirable. The pump is vulnerable to dirt and metal shavings from tainted brake fluid, and it is sensitive to wear. However, by having the fluid changed routinely, you can help prevent this scenario.

Low brake fluid

Brake fluid is required for the ABS pump to operate properly. To supply the brake system, this fluid is forced through the cylinder. You will experience problems, including a potential illuminated ABS light, if there is insufficient brake fluid. If the fluid level is low, it’s critical to determine why. You can have a leaking fluid reservoir, air in your brake system, or a faulty seal.

It may also occur if the brakes are worn out. The ABS module won’t balance the pressure between each tire if you let the system drop too low, which may cause slipping and sliding. You could notice that stopping becomes more difficult as the brake fluid level drops. Additionally, there’s the potential that when you brake, noise levels will increase.

Blown Fuse

The ABS light may illuminate due to a blown fuse since it can disrupt the electrical circuit and impair the ABS system’s proper operation. When the ABS light is on, it’s crucial to check the fuses for the ABS system as part of the troubleshooting process. A fuse might blow at any time for no apparent cause. Fortunately, checking the fuse is not difficult. If you aren’t observing any symptoms other than the light coming on the dashboard, it can even be the first step in the diagnostic process.

Read more: What does the ESP light mean? (Causes and how to fix it)

How can one reset the ABS light?

Here’s how to reset the ABS light in three simple steps:

  • Disconnect the positive cable from the car battery.
  • Replace the ABS sensor
  • Utilize an OBD-II scanner.

Disconnect the positive cable from the car battery

Your automobile battery’s positive cable should be disconnected. Next, keep your foot firmly planted on the brake pedal to shut off the car’s electrical system. The central computer of the vehicle will reset as a result of this. Reconnect the cable to restore power. This ought to reset the light if the system has no issues.

Replace ABS sensor

You might need to replace the ABS sensor if the light remains after the reset. In order to do this, you should unplug the sensor’s cable and unscrew the sensor’s housing, which should be mounted to the wheel hub. Next, mount and attach a new sensor. The above-mentioned method may be required to reset the computer after you’ve successfully installed the sensor.

Utilize an OBD-II scanner

If the light continues to illuminate, you should utilize an OBD-II gadget to figure out what’s wrong because the car still believes there is a problem that warrants the light. Take your car to a shop to have the issue identified and fixed if you don’t have an OBD code reader.

Read more: How to reset airbag light in six simple steps


Is it OK to drive with the ABS light on?

With the ABS light on, it is safe to drive cautiously. But quickly get it checked. As regular braking is unaffected by the ABS light, you can continue to operate the vehicle while it is on. Because driving without your ABS system can be risky, we wouldn’t recommend you do this. Your ABS system aids in controlling stopping.

What causes the ABS warning light to come on?

This light usually illuminates for one of four reasons: either the ABS module is broken, the fluid reservoir is low on fluid, the wheel speed sensors are damaged, or the system is off. Actually, the traction control system in your car and the ABS share a few crucial parts.

How do I fix my ABS light?

The ABS warning light may turn on if the brake fluid levels are too low, so you should first check your brake fluid reservoir to make sure they are not too low. If there is obviously a problem, you can top off the brake fluid on your own, which should turn off the ABS light.

Why is the ABS light on in a Toyota?

When the ABS warning light illuminates on your instrument cluster, it may indicate that your car needs brake system repair. It is advised that you take your car to your nearest repair shop right away for an inspection if the ABS warning light is on.

What causes ABS to fail?

The majority of ABS issues arise when metal shavings or other particles contaminate sensors. When sensor wiring is harmed, malfunctions also happen, and there is intermittent or no continuity.

Can ABS turn on the check engine light?

Yes, the check engine light can be triggered by the ABS system. The check engine light may come on if there is an issue with the ABS system, which could result in a fault code being stored in the engine control module. It’s crucial to remember that the check engine light might sometimes come on as a result of problems unrelated to the ABS system. To find the source of the issue, it is advised to have a diagnostic scan done.

Does ABS affect engine power?

Engine performance will not be affected by an ABS problem. However, it will have an impact on the anti-lock component of your brakes. Your brakes will operate normally, but in slick situations or under hard braking, the wheels may lock up and you may lose control of the brakes.

Can low brake fluid cause the ABS light to come on?

The ABS system in your car may be alerting you to abnormally low brake fluid levels as one of the causes of the ABS light being on. If your brake fluid level is low, you’ll be able to tell by the way your car brakes.

Can ABS cause your car not to start?

Your car will still start if the ABS relay is missing, given that you are certain of it. The brake system is the only system that uses that circuit. If the engine does not start quickly, you probably have a weak battery or another connection problem.

That is all for this article, where we looked at the meaning, safety, causes, and how to reset the ABS light. We also get to discuss the frequently asked questions about the ABS light.

I hope you learn a lot from the reading. If you do, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading; see you around!