What Does the ABS Warning Light Mean?

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.


Next Step

Schedule ABS Light is on Inspection

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Recent ABS Light is on Inspection reviews

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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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