Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Anti-Lock Relay

Anti-Lock relay

The ABS system is a mandatory safety feature found on all late model vehicles. It serves to help slow down the vehicle and prevent wheel lock and tire skid during heavy braking situations. As is the case with the systems on most modern vehicles, the ABS system is electronic in nature, and uses an electronic relay to supply it with power. It is the job of the ABS relay to supply power to the ABS module, pump, and the rest of its components so that they can successfully serve their purpose.

Because the ABS relay is what supplies power to the entire system, when it malfunctions or has a problem, that problem can quickly transfer to the rest of the system, so it should be serviced as soon as possible. Usually, when the ABS relay fails, the vehicle will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver that there may be a potential problem.

Check Engine Light / ABS Light is on

One of the first symptoms of a defective ABS relay is an illuminated Check Engine or ABS Light. If the computer detects that the relay has failed, or is giving an abnormal reading, then it will activate the Check Engine or ABS Light to alert the driver of a potential problem. The Check Engine and ABS Lights can come on for a variety of reasons, so having the computer scanned for trouble codes can help shed some light on what the exact problem may be.

Unexpected wheel lock from ABS system failing

Another symptom of a problem with the ABS sensor is a non-functioning ABS system. If the ABS sensor fails or malfunctions, then the entire ABS system will be without power and will be unable to function, sometimes without activating the ABS or Check Engine Light. The vehicle may still brake normally, however, the assisted braking provided by the ABS system will be disabled, which may leave the vehicle more susceptible to wheel lock and tire skidding during heavy braking and slippery conditions.

The ABS system is an important safety feature found on virtually all modern vehicles, and as is the case with most automotive systems, it is fed power through a relay. For this reason, if you suspect that your ABS system may be malfunctioning, or needs to have the anti-lock relay replaced, a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, can diagnose the vehicle and verify what repairs are required.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP)...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...


Related questions

Q: 1994 GMC Sonoma not getting power to fuel pump

The problem is somewhere in the fuel pump relay control circuit. There are five relay terminals: battery power, ignition power (controlled by the ECM), ground, output to the pump and connection to the fuel pump prime connector. What the prime...

Q: Chrysler 300 2005 abs not working. Code c2116. Does this mean my abs pump is dead for sure? Or could it be abs sensors.

Hi there. Take a digital volt meter and check the voltage on the harness to the ABS control motor. There should be a battery voltage present. If the voltage is low, then there is a break in the wiring from...

Q: Heater blower stuck on high and will not turn off unless igniton is off

This suggests that the relay may be supplying power to the blower motor regardless of turning the switch off. The blower motor relay supplies power to this motor when you turn the switch to "on" that can sometimes fail. When...