What Does the ABS Warning Light Mean?

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While you are driving, your vehicle constantly monitors sensors throughout the car to ensure everything works as intended. One of the systems being monitored is the ABS, which stands for the anti-lock braking system.

The ABS monitors the wheels to make sure they are all turning at approximately the same speed. The system can then use the brakes to keep the vehicle under control during slippery situations.

What the ABS light means

The ABS system uses sensors at each wheel to monitor their rotational speed. A computer monitors the signals from all four wheels and the position of the brake pedal to ensure the vehicle is stable and under control.

If the computer notices any abnormal signals, or the lack of a signal from any of the sensors, it will turn the ABS warning light on to alert the driver of an issue. In addition to monitoring the wheel speed sensors, the computer can turn the ABS light on for other reasons, like low brake fluid levels or a blown fuse. Some ABS systems may flash the light a few times and then leave it on constantly. The number of flashes refers to a trouble code and can help you identify the issue. Refer to the vehicle repair guide or information online to determine what your ABS system is telling you when it flashes.

What to do when your ABS light is on

When the ABS light comes on, the first thing you should do is find a safe place to stop the vehicle, shut it off, and then start it up again. This will make the computer recheck all of the sensors for any abnormalities. Just like your computer at home, doing a simple reset may fix the issue and the light will shut off. Unfortunately, most of the time it’s not this easy and there may be something wrong in the system that needs identification. Your best option is to have a certified technician hook a scan tool up to the car and check any trouble codes that are present.

There are a few things you can check at home if you have some tools handy:

  • Remove the wheels to inspect the wheel speed sensors and wires for any damage.
  • Double check to make sure the fuse for the ABS system hasn’t blown either. Keep in mind that replacing a blown fuse is only a temporary fix and the fuse will likely blow again at some point.
  • You will need to identify what is causing the fuse to blow. In order to fix the issue entirely, and a scan tool will most likely be necessary.

Is it safe to drive when the ABS light comes on?

Keep in mind that the vehicle may still be okay to drive even when the ABS light is on. Unless there are other brake warning lights on along with the ABS, you will still have normal braking capabilities. The vehicle won’t be able to assist you in the event of skidding however, so take extra care when driving.

The vehicle should not be driven if you feel any loss in braking power when this light is on. In this case, have the vehicle towed to a shop or have one of our certified technicians come to you to help diagnose why the ABS Light is on.


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Recent ABS Light is on Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating


YourMechanic ABS Light is on Inspection Service

Average Rating

4.8/5

Number of Reviews

208

Rating Summary
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Matthew

32 years of experience
727 reviews
Matthew
32 years of experience
Nissan Xterra - ABS Light is on - Norfolk, Virginia
Matt was very knowledge and friendly. He knew what he was doing when troubleshooting an ABS light on my old Xterra. He had to do a few different things to make sure he was getting the correct information and was very fast at getting it done. Even pointed out something I'd have to look into later and also said that my engine compartment looked pretty good compared to some others. Found this service on accident last night while Googling for local shop... I would definitely recommend and use again!
Honda Accord - ABS Light is on Inspection - Norfolk, Virginia
He arrived right on time, and started and finished in a timely manner. Once he was done working he gave me more information about the problems my car was having than I expected. This was my first time having work done and it went very smoothly.

Peter

24 years of experience
267 reviews
Peter
24 years of experience
Toyota Camry - ABS Light is on - Pasadena, California
Peter did an excellent job. My 2000 Toyota Camry has had an ABS warning light for several months and the solution suggested by Pep Boys (after doing a $500 rotor/pad job) was to have Toyota dealer install a new ABS controller which is a $2000 job. Peter performed a difficult (because of the age of the car) diagnostic procedure which confirmed that the ABS controller needed to be replaced but then guided me on getting a used unit from Ebay for $40 and then spend $100 for a mechanic to do an easy installation. I think the basic premise of YourMechanic of sending a mechanic to your home is a very good idea especially for people who are very busy and value the time to take their car to a repair garage. I see very polarized reviews on the web site - either very good or very poor. Some of the complaints are about the mechanic and some are about the administration. In my younger days I worked as a garage mechanic and know there ares some cased where the mechanics is blamed for problems that he/she has no fault with - just unfortunate circumstances. Bottom line, Peter Izaquirre knows his business and was a pleasure to deal with.
Toyota Tacoma - ABS Light is on - Northridge, California
Very knowledgeable, punctual , and friendly guy . Very thorough and did not rush to diagnose my problem he probably spent a good 1 and a half hours going through every scenario. And to top it off I didnt have to lose time at work because he came to my job sit .

Michael

37 years of experience
103 reviews
Michael
37 years of experience
GMC Safari - ABS Light is on Inspection - Brea, California
I wish that I knew about your company, “New Mechanic “ earlier. Michael is very conscientious and professional. I would highly recommend.John Sideri.
Mercury Mountaineer - ABS Light is on - Cypress, California
Michael does outstanding work and is very thorough. I have had him do various jobs on different cars and on on a scale of 1 to 10 I would definitely give him a 10 and would trust him with any mechanical job!

James

29 years of experience
625 reviews
James
29 years of experience
Isuzu Trooper - ABS Light is on - Orlando, Florida
James was a pleasure to interact with and very thorough. I will be using him again. Thanks for the great service and help!
Ford Explorer Sport Trac - ABS Light is on - Sanford, Florida
James is the most professional mechanic I've come across with Yourmechanic thus far.(from troubleshooting to documentation.)

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