Is it Safe to Drive With the ABS Light On?

ABS stands for anti-lock braking system (ABS), and helps the tires on your vehicle to maintain contact with the road while you are braking. It functions by preventing the wheels from locking up, which can result in uncontrollable skids. The main purpose of ABS is to improve vehicle control under heavy braking, especially on loose or slick surfaces. It does not necessarily decrease stopping distance, although it can help.

Here are some things to know about ABS safety:

  • The ABS does a self-test every time you turn on the ignition. Once you start your vehicle, the warning light will briefly come on, and if the computer finds a problem, the light will stay on. If you notice the light flash immediately after starting the vehicle, then it's just your vehicle doing a self-check.

  • If the warning light comes on while you are driving, it means the ABS is not working properly. Your brakes will still work, but the ABS might not engage if you need to make an emergency stop. If the light remains on, you need to have a mechanic diagnose the ABS light issue as soon as possible. Since the ABS helps with vehicle control and stopping distances, it is an important safety feature to maintain – you never know when you'll need it.

  • If both the ABS and brake system light come on at the same time, your vehicle is no longer safe to drive. This means there is a serious problem with the braking system, and continuing to drive puts yourself and others at risk of a car crash.

  • As you brake heavily and your ABS engages, you will notice the brake pedal pulsating. This is completely normal and means the ABS is working normally. The ABS works with your braking system to create this pulsating to keep the wheels from locking up. Once you feel this pulsating, keep your foot on the brake pedal and let the system do the work for you. All you need to do is concentrate on steering safely.

Driving with the ABS warning light on is not a good idea because it means your ABS is not working properly. Your vehicle may not handle stopping on slippery surfaces like it is designed to under heavy braking. If both your ABS Light and brake system light come on, this is an emergency and you need to stop driving right away. Have your entire brake system inspected by a certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic.


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Recent ABS Light is on Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(306)

Rating Summary
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Greg

22 years of experience
333 reviews
Greg
22 years of experience
Nissan NV3500 V8-5.6L - ABS Light is on - Phoenix, Arizona
Greg did a fantastic Job and talk to me through the entire process. He made sure I understood what he was doing and why he was doing it as well as checking over the rest of the vehicle to ensure it works properly.
Jeep Wrangler - ABS Light is on - Scottsdale, Arizona
Greg did a great job. Very knowledgeable and explained what needed to be explained. Gave recommendations on what he thought needed to be done in the future, but never tried to up-sale you like a lot of mechanics do.

Matthew

33 years of experience
1210 reviews
Matthew
33 years of experience
Honda Civic L4-1.3L Hybrid - ABS Light is on - Norfolk, Virginia
Matt has serviced my vehicles including daughter, son, son-in law,and my grand-kids, he has always been able to fix the problems. He hes extended knowledge on all makes and models.and I would recommend everyone give him a chance to fix yours.
Lexus LS430 - ABS Light is on - Williamsburg, Virginia
Matthew showed up on time for our appointment. Talked to me about the problems I was having with my vehicle and what he was going to do to correct the problem. I find Matthew to be very knowledgeable and passionate about working on vehicles. Job was finished in a timely manner and the price was very very reasonable. Overall great job!!!!

James

30 years of experience
873 reviews
James
30 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz GL450 V8-4.7L - ABS Light is on - Oviedo, Florida
So kind, knowledgeable and professional. I appreciate the attention to detail and making things easier to understand
Dodge Ram 1500 - ABS Light is on - Orlando, Florida
Outstanding guy honest...trustworthy and very knowledgeable...great teacher on anything automotive...thanks James

Jermaine

24 years of experience
244 reviews
Jermaine
24 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra L4-2.0L - ABS Light is on Inspection - Hyattsville, Maryland
Jermaine was the absolute best, I'm usually wary about mechanics but he made the whole thing easy and painless. Thank you so much Jermaine.
Honda Fit - ABS Light is on - Beltsville, Maryland
I would refer him over Your Mechanics. Prior to Jermaine’s visit to repair an issue created by my first Your Mechanic. Mechanic, the experience had been horrific. Her wine was prompt, honest, professional and assisted with getting me connected to the warranty department. Truly earned 5 stars

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