ABS Light Comes On [Why Is It On and How to Turn It Off]

ABS or anti-lock braking systems are present in most modern vehicles. The main purpose of the ABS is to keep the driver and anyone else inside the car safe.

The common reasons causing the ABS light to turn on are low levels in the brake fluid reservoir, broken speed sensor, corroded ABS module, your vehicle performing a bulb check, and a worn hydraulic pump. To turn the ABS light off, you need to determine first why it turned on in the first place.

Read on to know more about why the ABS light comes on.

ABS Light Comes On [Why Is It On and How to Turn It Off]

abs light coms on

The ABS prevents the wheels from locking when you step on the brake, allowing you to maintain full control of the steering. It also prevents the wheels from skidding when they lock up.

If anything is wrong with the ABS, a warning light on the dashboard will turn on. When it does, you need to take it seriously. It means that you need to check your braking system right away. 

Some think that ABS stops the car faster than a traditional braking system. But the truth is, it adds a small distance when you brake. What the ABS provides is more control over your vehicle.

It gives you the ability to steer away from an accident. The ABS can also prolong the lifespan of your tires, brake pads, calipers, wheels, and other parts involved in braking.

Why Is the ABS Light On

The ABS light can turn on for a variety of reasons. When you see it turn on, it doesn’t automatically mean something wrong with your brakes. The ABS light communicates with other components of your car.

So an issue with other parts of your vehicle can also trigger the light to turn on. Below are some possible reasons that cause the ABS light to turn on:

1. Low Brake Fluid Level

One possible cause for the ABS light to come on is if your car is low on brake fluid. Brake fluid plays a crucial role in a car’s ABS. It controls the braking pressure within the system.

Inside the system is a reservoir that stores the brake fluid. If there is a leak in the reservoir, it will cause the fluid levels to drop. Excessive air in the ABS can also cause the brake fluid levels to drop. 

If your brake pedal becomes less responsive, it could signal the level of brake fluid is low. The brake can also be harder when there’s not enough brake fluid in the reservoir. You may also hear a scraping or grinding sound.

2. Faulty Speed Sensor

A faulty speed sensor can also cause the ABS light to turn on. Each car wheel has a sensor, which you can find in the wheel’s hub. The purpose of these sensors is to calculate the movement rate of the wheels.

The sensors transmit the information it gathers to the ABS. If one of the sensors reports that a wheel is moving slowly, then the ABS will increase the pressure of the brake fluid to fix the issue.

The ABS can detect if there is a problem with the speed sensors. The ABS light will turn on to warn you about the problem.

3. Corroded ABS Module

After some time, ABS modules can become corroded. This is one of the most common problems of the ABS. A corroded module won’t collect information from the speed sensors.

The system’s light will turn on if the ABS fails to receive information from the wheel sensors. The module doesn’t have to be corrupted entirely for a problem.

Slight corrosion can stop it from working correctly. Your car may need a bit of rewiring. But if the problem is severe, the solution is to replace the corroded ABS module.

If your ABS module is corroded, your brakes become progressively less responsive. If the module is completely broken, your brakes will not work. Your brake pads will also become more challenging to push.

Your brakes may also lock-up, even when you’re usually driving. If this happens, you must take your car to the mechanic immediately. When you hear random clicking noises when you brake or your brakes pump when you stop, it can also signify a bad ABS module.

4. Bulb Check

Some vehicles perform a bulb check to see if all warning lights are working correctly. So if you see the ABS light turn on, your car is conducting a bulb check.

If it is indeed a bulb check that has caused the ABS light to turn on, it will turn off by itself. However, a glitch in the bulb check can keep the ABS light on even after the build check is finished. 

5. Worn Hydraulic Pump

A worn hydraulic pump can also activate the ABS warning light. A car’s hydraulic pump gets worn out after years of usage. Replace a worn-out pump immediately because it’s an essential part of the braking system.

If one of the car’s wheels is moving at a different speed than the rest, the speed sensor will detect it and notify the ABS. The system will activate the hydraulic pump to increase brake fluid pressure as a response. This is to help the rogue wheel to regain traction as it touches the ground.

Again, what does it mean when the ABS light is on? The most common causes why the ABS light is on include a faulty ABS module, a low fluid level in the reservoir, and a damaged wheel speed sensor. Note that the ABS is connected to your car’s traction control.

Why Is My ABS Light On? [7 Common Reasons]

What to Do If the ABS Warning Light Comes On?

abs light comes on and off

1. Do Not Panic

When you notice that the ABS light is on, you should first don’t panic. You will not solve the problem by panicking. Yes, your braking system has a problem when the ABS light turns on.

But you must remain calm, especially while driving on a busy road. The last thing you want to happen is to cause an accident because you panicked.

2. Identify the Cause of the Problem

You must quickly find out what’s wrong and solve the problem. If there is a problem with your braking system, your car may not stop promptly when you step on the brakes.

You could have an accident if you didn’t stop your vehicle immediately. 

The role of the ABS is to keep the car’s tires on the road when the brakes are applied aggressively. It prevents the wheels from locking up during the braking process.

When the wheels lock up, the car tends to skid and lose control. If the vehicle is on a wet road, the skidding can cause a major accident. 

The ABS light turns on when you turn on your vehicle. It means the car is running a test on the ABS to ensure it runs well. As soon as you insert the key in the ignition and turn on your vehicle, your car’s computer will do a test on your ABS.

This is to ensure that it is working correctly. It will also cause the ABS light to turn on. 

If there’s no problem with your ABS, the light will turn off on its own after a few seconds. But the light will stay on if there is a problem with your ABS. You need to identify the cause of the problem to fix the issue on your braking system. 

3. Bring the Car to the Nearest Mechanic

If you’re driving and see the ABS light turn on suddenly, you need to bring your car to the nearest mechanic immediately. It’s unsafe to continue with your trip if the ABS light is on.

Only a certified mechanic can expertly diagnose the problem in your car. After diagnosing the problem and identifying the cause, the mechanic can start repairing or replacing the affected components.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix the ABS System?

abs light comes on in car

The cost of fixing an ABS depends on the type and severity of the problem. Also, a factor is your vehicle’s male, model, and year. If the problem is with the ABS module, then be ready to pay anywhere from $200 to $600 for each module.

If the problem is with the wheel sensors, it will set you back anywhere from $100 to $200 each. Take your car to a licensed mechanic to ensure you get honest and accurate advice on how to fix it. 

Can You Still Drive When the ABS Light Comes On

If the ABS light is on, it’s still possible for you to continue driving your car. You’ll still be able to step on the brakes to slow down your vehicle and bring it to a stop.

But you need to keep in mind that you won’t be able to perform a sudden stop if there is something wrong with your braking system. When you do a sudden stop with a problem in your ABS, there’s the risk of your tires locking.

When your tires become locked, you won’t be able to steer your car until the front tires regain traction. So be extra careful driving with the ABS light on. 

When the brake system and ABS light come on simultaneously, you’re dealing with a severe problem. When this happens, you shouldn’t attempt to drive your vehicle anymore.

It’s dangerous to drive with the brake system light on because the brake might not work at all. The best thing for you is to have your car towed to the nearest mechanic.

Conclusion – ABS Light Comes On [Why Is It On and How to Turn It Off]

There are five possible reasons why the ABS light comes on. It could be due to the following:

brake fluid level is low, the speed sensor on the wheels is broken, the ABS module is corroded, your vehicle is performing a bulb check, or the hydraulic pump is worn.

If the ABS light turns on because of a bulb check, you must wait for it to turn off. You don’t have to do anything. But you must fix the problem if the light turns on for other reasons. 

When you see the ABS light come on, it’s important not to panic, especially when driving. You can still drive while the ABS light is on. But if there is a problem with your braking system, you won’t be able to stop all of a sudden.

If you can’t determine the problem or if it’s serious, you need to take your car to a mechanic immediately. An expert would be able to diagnose the problem with your vehicle properly. He will also be able to provide the right solution to the problem.