ABS Lights
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Why is the ABS Light On?

ABS stands for Antilock Brake System that prevents the wheels from locking up during braking. Whenever the light of ABS illuminates, it is an indication that there is a malfunction in the antilock and it has deactivated the system. Whenever this situation arises, the normal brakes of your car will work fine. However, the antilock feature will not support the brakes. Additionally, if your car has features like traction and stability control, they will also deactivate as they rely on the same wheel sensors as the ABS. In turn, the ABS lights illuminate to show whether there is an issue or not.  

What is the Function of ABS?

As mentioned, an ABS prevents wheels from locking when braking or apply too much pressure that the axle stops turning completely. When the wheels stop turning but the car moves, it starts to skid. You lose control of your car when it skids, which is very dangerous at high speeds. 

An ABS does not stop the car any different from a traditional brake, but it does add a small amount of distance. It prevents you from losing control and possibly helps steer out of harm’s way to avoid accident or injury.

Furthermore, ABS also increases the life expectancy of your vehicle’s brake pads, tires, wheels, calipers, and anything else influenced by brakes.

Is It Safe to Drive with ABS On?

The ABS light usually illuminates when you start your vehicle briefly for a system check. If the light stays on, it is an indication that there is something wrong with the mechanism, and it has shut the system down.

If it stays on, the ABS LED indicates that you have a serious problem with the braking system and need to address the issue. Otherwise, it could make your driving unsafe and possibly dangerous.

The ABS is in almost every vehicle after 2012, and it restores the car’s traction. As such, it helps drivers apply the brakes safely and steer their vehicle in case of an emergency. Avoid driving your vehicle if the ABS indication light stays on and take it to a trusted auto expert for immediate addressing. They use a special code reader to find out the cause and solve the problem accordingly.

Causes of Illuminate ABS Light

·      Module Malfunction

An ABS shares important components with the traction system of a car. The traction system keeps all for wheels rolling smoothly. If the system detects any irregularity, it immediately cuts power from the engine until the traction stabilizes or restores.

Since ABS and traction control share the same system of a diagnostic module, one can interfere with the other. Sometimes the issue with the traction system illuminates the ABS light, while other times, the issue is with the ABS itself. A professional diagnosis will determine the module malfunction to figure out the possible solution.

·      Low Levels of Fluid

The brake system is hydraulic, which means it utilizes the power of a pressing cylinder against the fluid to close the pads and apply brakes. You need a constant level of fluid to ensure the brakes function properly.

If there is a leak in the reservoir or the fluid level steeps too low, it can hinder your brake’s working capability. The car system will detect this with a sensor and will keep the ABS light on.

·      Wheel Speed Sensor Malfunctioning

The wheel speed sensors are the equipment that tells a car computer about the turning speed of each wheel. If there is an irregularity in the wheels, then the traction control system makes immediate adjustments and diverts power from other tires to compensate.

However, the relay of this information becomes inaccurate if the sensor becomes dirty or malfunctions. Instead of diverting and adjusting power, it will disable the traction control system and illuminates the ABS light until the problem gets resolved.

·      The System Is Off

While it may sound surprising, you can turn the traction and ABS on and off at your will. Whenever you turn off the system, the indicator light will keep itself lit to tell you that you have disabled an important safety function. If the traction or ABS light stays on, then the system might have disabled itself by accident. Check to see whether you have accidentally changed the setting or consult the manual for surety. Better yet, take it to a professional for a better diagnosis.

Some other causes of ABS light illumination might include:

  • A blown system fuse
  • Damaged wheel speed sensor due to road debris
  • Broken wire between the sensor and the ABS
  • Malfunctioned ABS and traction system

Signs of ABS Failure

In addition to illuminated ABS light, there are also some signs that tell you to have an issue with the system. These signs include:

  • Whenever the ABS starts to malfunction, the brake pedal gradually ceases working. You have to push harder to apply the brakes and make the vehicle stop. Eventually, the vehicle will not stop no matter how hard you apply, which means the ABS no longer works.
  • The function of ABS is to prevent brakes from locking. If you notice that the brakes have started to lock in normal driving conditions, then your ABS might need replacement.
  • Older cars that do not have ABS warning lights usually illuminate the engine check light if the system malfunctions. It is a good idea to understand and interpret various warning lights to address the problem right away.

You have to keep an eye on the various warning lights present if your vehicle does not have an ABS indication. Alternatively, consult an owner’s manual to understand the purpose of different lights and take it to a professional for adequate diagnosis.

Final Word

Whenever you notice that the ABS light has stayed on after the initial system check, it is clear that the system has started to face an issue. If you know the way to detect and address such issues, it is fine. But a better action here is to take your vehicle to a professional auto care expert who can detect and address the issue accordingly.

Know you are safe buying a guy from a trusted dealer like 500 Below Cars. All of our vehicles go through an 80 point vehicle inspection process to get a certified vehicle inspection report.  At 500 Below Cars, we stand behind our inventory and offer a 12-month unlimited mile car warranty


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