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ABS light on: Why? How to turn it off?

Finding the ABS light on means that you need to address the problem as soon as possible. It can be simple, or it can mean there are serious issues with the system.

What is an ABS light?

What does ABS stand for and what is ABS light? There are many safety features in modern vehicles. These components warn drivers of any potential problems with various systems in the vehicle. One of these systems is the antilock braking system or ABS.

As noted above, the ABS light is related to the antilock braking system in a car. There is a light on the dash that will come on when there is a problem with the system.

This tool helps keep drivers safe and their cars optimally functioning, like the check engine light. If you see your ABS light on, it means that you need to give your car some attention.

Why is my ABS light on?

ABS symbol

This is the symbol which help you know when ABS light on

Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org

The ABS light can come on for a couple of different reasons. The light will come on to test the functioning of the bulb connected to the said warning light. It also comes on to indicate a problem in the antilock braking system.

When brake lights come on the dashboard, it does not necessarily mean that the ABS is out. It could refer to the following:

  • regular bulb maintenance
  • problems in the control unit
  • wiring or sensor issues
  • failure or potential failure of a pump
  • problems with the solenoid
  • low fluid

What to do when the ABS light is on?

The light can mean a variety of different things. It is important to troubleshoot and address any potential problems in the ABS system as soon as they become apparent.

As we have noted above, the light comes on for a variety of reasons. It could simply indicate that you need to replace the bulb or there is a problem with its connection. It can also indicate a much more serious problem with the ABS system.

If both the ABS and brake lights are on, experts do not recommend that you continue driving.

If only the ABS light is on, you can still drive the car. However, the ABS system may not work properly. You can diagnose many of the potential issues at home without the need for a mechanic. However, a mechanic may be necessary for more serious problems with the system.

How to turn off the ABS light?

ABS light on to warn the mistake

The computer associated with the is constantly monitoring the system to ensure optimal functioning. The ABS light comes on when the computer detects an error anywhere in the system. This causes the warning light on the dashboard to illuminate. 

The only way to get the light to go off is to clear the error and problem codes from the computer. Repair shops have all the equipment needed to return the car with the light off.

You will, however, need to know how to turn the light off yourself if you are repairing the problem at home. You can employ a scanning device to easily turn the light off. Or, you can do this manually.

How to reset ABS light without a scan tool?

It is possible to reset the ABS light without the use of a scanning tool. However, it is very complicated.

A quick search on the internet will show you that the procedure for manually turning the light off varies across cars. In fact, the process can even vary in different model years of the same vehicle.

You will need a fused jumper wire or service connector to do this manually. Go through the following steps to reset:

  • Step 1: Find the DLC on your vehicle. If you don’t know where to find it, a quick web search will do the trick.
  • Step 2: Connect the two fuses on the DLC. Turn on the ignition but do not start the engine. You will see the ABS light flash.
  • Step 3: Press the brake pedal until you hear a click. Push it 8 times as quickly as possible.
  • Step 4: If successful, the ABS light will quit flashing, come back on, and then flash on about 4 times.

Using an ABS scan tool

First, you will want to clear away any debris around the ABS computer. The use of a scanning tool makes it really easy to troubleshoot your problem. It simplifies turning the light off once the problems are addressed as well.

Connect the scanner to your car’s computer and it will return any error codes it finds in the ABS system. You can easily look up the error codes online to determine the source of your problem.

After you repair whatever the problem is, you can enter the clear code that is provided into the scanner. Doing this will reset the indicator light and should make it turn off.

Why ABS light comes on and off?

One fairly common problem is the ABS light comes on and then goes back off for seemingly no reason. Most often, this is due to a sensor that is out of balance.

As you drive, the sensor may vibrate out of its proper place. When parking, it often resets. Sensors also gather dirt and road grime, which can reduce their efficiency over time.

Is it safe to drive a car with ABS light on?

The ABS light in your car or truck is a dash warning light that is specifically tied into the anti-lock brake system.

ABS light is on means that you need to address the problem as soon as possible.

An ABS light on in your car does not necessarily mean that you cannot drive the car. It is an indication that the antilock braking system isn’t working properly. This does not, however, mean that your brakes do not work at all. To avoid skids, the system keeps the wheels from locking while braking.

The light is on means that the ABS system may not work properly. This will be salient if you need to make an emergency stop.  You can still drive it, but with the understanding that ABS braking features may not work.

What does it mean when both ABS and brake light are on?

Sometimes the ABS light and brake light will be on at the same time. This may indicate that there is a failing module in the antilock braking system. Low fluid is another reason that both of these lights may come on at the same time. The wheel speed sensor going on is another potential culprit for this problem.

Both lights on at the same time indicate a more serious problem which you should fix before continuing to drive. You should repair the anti-lock brake system immediately because it related directly to safety.

Bottom line

The ABS light is an added safety feature to alert drivers to any potential problems with the system. So, the light comes on for a number of reasons – from a lightbulb that needs replacement to a serious malfunction in the system.

Basic troubleshooting can help you determine exactly what the problem is and how to go about addressing it. The use of an ABS scan tool can dramatically simplify the process of diagnosis.

Bonus: Airbag light on: Why? How to reset it?

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