ABS Light Stays On? Steps To Fix An ABS Warning Light

Have you got an ABS warning light on? Don’t worry! Anytime a problem occurs in the ABS brake system the warning light gets on. In fact, ABS light stays on unless you fix the core issue.

Basically, the warning light alerts the driver that the safety system is no longer active. So let’s find down how the ABS system works and learn how to turn off ABS light now!

How Does An ABS System Work?

Anti-lock brake system (ABS) is very familiar to modern cars. This system has the function of maintaining control and directional stability of a car when extreme braking happens.

When one or more tires start to skid, they will lose traction allowing the vehicle to move in whatever direction it wants, even totally sideways. Research has proven that a vehicle with an ABS system can decrease the risk of a vehicle accident by 18 percent by controlling the rotational speed of each wheel.

Located near the wheel, a wheel speed sensor is used to control the rotational speed of the wheel. This information is sent to the computer module, which measures all of the data from 4-wheel sensors.

If the computer detects one or more wheels turning slower than the others, it will alert the valve to reduce the pressure of the brake line and then have the pump maintain this pressure to enable the wheel to start rolling again. This is why you might feel the brake pedal vibrate if the system is activated.

If the ABS system detects a problem, a fault code will be generated and then stores in the system memory to turn the warning light. Basically, most of the ABS systems are “real-time” so when a code has been triggered and then fixed the code should clear itself within a few minutes of running. If it does not work, you have to know some tips for resetting ABS light.

Although early models included many parts, most of the modern systems are basic and consisted of 4-wheel speed sensors, a main computer module, a valve, and a hydraulic pump assembly at every wheel. This helps to make the price of the parts more affordable as well as simplify repairs.

Your ABS Light Stays On? 7 Reasons And How To Fix Them

To begin with, how to fix ABS light, park your car over a stage with the engine off, and set the transmission and the emergency brake. If you don’t find a stage, park your car on any level ground and use jacks to lift it for replacing or removing the tires or the control module.

If then your ABS light stays on below are the guideline involved to know how to reset ABS light without scan tool.

1. Blown ABS fuse

When ABS light won’t go off, most people are not aware that ABS fuse is similar to any other electrical system. It is protected by a fuse that may blow with time. First, replace the faulty fuse. In case it blows repeatedly, we can conclude that there is a problem with the pump motor or ABS computer.

2. Damaged ABS sensor

The ABS wheel sensor monitors the wheel rotation, controlled by its computer. This sensor works in conjunction with the wheel stator attached to the axle brake rotor, bearing hub, or CV joint. With time, these sensors may short out as they are subject to vibration or road conditions.

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3. Faulty ABS computer module

Fix An ABS Warning Light
ABS light stays on unless you fix the core issue (Photo: pinterest.com)

The ABS controller works in monitoring the wheel speed and may stop functioning like any other electronic device. You can see the computer on the top of the pump motor, attached to around five mounting bolts.

If you hear the humming noise from the system or you see any burned-out control coil, it’s time to replace the module when ABS warning light stays on.

4. Damaged stator ring

The wheel speed sensor and the other sensor work in combination to monitor the rotation speed of the wheel. A damaged wheel ring causes trouble to the whole system.

In any case, the ring damages or dislocates in a way that the teeth remain absent, this, activates the system. Further, the system stays activated assuming the wheel is rotating slower than all others.

If this happens to be the case, inspect the rings physically.

5. Losing hydraulic pressure

One of the causes responsible for ABS light stays on is losing hydraulic pressure.

When inspecting why your ABS warning light stays on, you need to inspect the levels in your brake reservoir to see whether it has lost a significant amount of brake fluid or not. Low levels of brake fluid are a possible cause of making the warning light stays on.

On the other hand, if the levels are not perfect, it might be that you are losing pressure on one side of the vehicle, which can be very dangerous.

Losing hydraulic pressure can result in the brake failing, and as the vehicle rises in speed and the brake system won’t be as efficient in stopping the vehicle. Therefore, you should try to find out how to reset ABS brake system.

6. Damaged hydraulic circuits

Each vehicle has 2 hydraulic circuits and you need to inspect both of them as well. They may be what would cause the abs light to come on. In the situation when the main line fails, the dual hydraulic system works as a fail-safe.

So there is still the opportunity that the second set of brakes will kick in and enable the car to stop. These are built into a check valve system that enables one to turn when the other turns off.

So if you detect damaged parts in the hydraulic circuits, you can replace them, but if the ABS light stays on, you may have a more dangerous issue with the actual brake lines.

7. The not-deep-enough emergency brake

Another reason causing ABS light stays on is the emergency brake. In some cases, the emergency brake won’t go down far enough, keeping the light on, although you don’t actually apply the brakes.

The emergency brake doesn’t work on the same system as the main brake line, but when the main lines fail, the emergency brake (which is in working condition) can still be applied instead. Also in steep driving terrain, the E-brake can be applied as a preventative measure. However, if you don’t shut off the handle precisely, the light will get stuck.

So when your ABS light won’t go off, be sure to check whether your emergency brake is in the correct down position or not. Adjust it a few times and see if the ABS light turns off.

Being immediately observant after repairing your ABS system is crucial. In addition to this, listen to the unknown sounds and check for the system performance in order to figure out a problem for further inspection.

Most American cars do not require any type of code clearing. While some ancient models the European and Japanese models still need to clear ABS code reader. If the ABS light came on even after the code cleaning, it means the problem persists.

Yes, sometimes the ABS light stays on. There is nothing too much to worry about; however, checking for the fault is important. Learn some maintenance tips in order to keep the car in its best condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What causes the ABS light to come on and go off?

ABS warning light
If the ABS system detects a problem, a fault code will be generated and then stored in the system memory to turn the warning light. (Photo: pinterest.com)

Here’s what causes the ABS light stays on in most cases:

  • A fuse in the system has blown
  • A wheel-speed sensor that is damaged or covered with road dust
  • Faulty wiring between the sensors and the ABS controller
  • An ABS controller that no longer works

After the broken ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) has been fixed and worked properly again, the light will go off. How to turn off the ABS light is actually to get the Anti-lock Braking System fixed.

2. Can you drive with an ABS light on?

It does not mean you can drive your car from point A to point B in a safe way when your ABS light turns on. The car will still operate as normal, it will start up just fine, its brakes will work as well and you can drive it as usual.

Now, let’s think about some cars cutting you off or a deer jumping out to the middle of the road and you have to slam on the brakes, there will be nothing to guarantee that the ABS system will work and you will face the danger of locking up your wheels which leads to uncontrollably skid into any direction.

3. Is it safe to drive with the ABS light on?

Yes and no. Your car will just operate normally and safety remains the same on the road. But in the moment of sudden brake, the ABS may not work. That’s all.

And depending on your steering and braking in those seconds, there may be a hit or slam, or nothing bad happens then. Your car would then become a normal old car without ABS. Therefore safety in such an emergency depends on your driving skill.

4. How much does it cost to fix ABS system?

The cost to repair the ABS system varies based on the severity of your problem along with the make, model, and year of your car.

ABS control modules cost anywhere from $200 up to $600 each, while ABS wheel sensors run from $100 to $200 each. Therefore, how to fix ABS light actually spending from $100 to over 800$.

5. Is my car prone to this issue of ABS light coming on?

Models usually have this issue: Toyota (Toyota Camry, Prius, Toyota Corolla), Honda (Honda Accord, Civic), Subaru, Ford, and Volkswagen.