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

(261)

Rating Summary
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Matthew

33 years of experience
1017 reviews
Matthew
33 years of experience
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!!!!
Chevrolet Blazer - ABS Light is on - Norfolk, Virginia
Great guy and very knowledgeable about my 92 Chevy. I already got two more quotes waiting for him to get back to me with. He's one person I will definitely let fix my truck.

Jermaine

24 years of experience
131 reviews
Jermaine
24 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra - 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

Shawn

12 years of experience
163 reviews
Shawn
12 years of experience
BMW 328i - ABS Light is on - Douglassville, Pennsylvania
Shawn is very determined and knowledgeable in his trade. My car has been giving him a very unique error challenge however Shawn has been very determined to identify and solve the error.
BMW 328i - ABS Light is on Inspection - Douglassville, Pennsylvania
Shawn was very personal and knowledgeable of his trade. He was engaged when I asked what the testing was.and talked me through it as he went..

Dia

32 years of experience
84 reviews
Dia
32 years of experience
Ford Fusion - ABS Light is on - Decatur, Georgia
Dia arrived on time and was very professional. He explained what he found and what he did. He also let me know what needs to be done to prevent future problems. Dia was very polite and pleasant.
Ford Fusion - ABS Light is on - Decatur, Georgia
My experience with Dia was great. He was very professional and courteous. Dia worked on my car and explained what he had done and recommended what needed to be done in a way that I could understand. I will definitely recommend Dia to family and friends.

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