5 Common Causes of an ABS Light to Come on

Modern vehicles have what is known as an anti-lock braking system. The purpose of this system is to keep the driver safe by preventing the wheels from locking up as you apply the brake. That way, you can keep control over the steering and your vehicle won’t skid as a result of the wheels locking up. In addition, there is a warning light on the dashboard which will illuminate if there is any sort of problem with the anti-lock braking system. This is a light that you need to take seriously because it is an early warning sign that your braking system needs to be inspected right away.

The Top 5 Causes of an ABS Light to Come on

There are many causes which could make an ABS light come on. It doesn’t always mean there is a problem with the anti-lock braking system directly. There could also be a problem with other sensors or components that it communicates with as well.

Read also: 5 Symptoms of a Bad Intermediate Steering Shaft and Replacement Cost

Below are the top 5 causes of an ABS light coming on.

  1. Low Fluid Reservoir ­– The braking fluid has a lot to do with controlling the braking pressure within an anti-lock braking system. There is a braking fluid reservoir which holds the fluid of the anti-lock braking system. Sometimes there could be a leak from this reservoir which will cause the fluid levels to drop. Either that or excessive amounts of air may exist within the system. Either way, it will certainly cause the ABS warning light to illuminate on the dashboard.
  2. Faulty Speed Sensor – There are speed sensors built into every wheel’s hub which calculate the movement rate of that wheel. This information then gets transmitted to the anti-lock braking system. If it turns out that at least one of the wheels is moving too slowly, the anti-lock braking system will increase the pressure of the braking fluid to allow the wheel to move at a normal speed. But if there is a problem with the speed sensor, the anti-lock braking system will detect that and cause the warning light to illuminate on the dashboard.
  3. Bad System Module – The module of the anti-lock braking system can form corrosion after a while. This is actually one of the most common reasons for why there ends up being a problem with the anti-lock braking system. If the module is corroded, then it can’t obtain information from the wheel speed sensor. As a result, the ABS light illuminates on the dashboard. It doesn’t even take a lot of corrosion to cause this to happen either. But you will need to replace the module after this happens.
  4. Bulb Check – Some vehicles will perform what is known as a bulb check on the dashboard. This check is for the driver’s convenience, so they know the bulbs of their vehicle’s warning lights are working properly. These lights will usually turn off by themselves after a certain amount of time. In some instances, there may be a glitch in the bulb check which keeps the ABS warning light illuminated after the bulb check is completed.
  5. Worn Hydraulic Pump – If there is one wheel of a vehicle that moves at a different speed than the other wheels, the wheel speed sensor detects this and then notifies the anti-lock braking system. Once this happens, the system will activate the hydraulic pump to increase the amount of brake fluid pressure. This will allow the wheels to maintain their traction as they’re touching the ground. Unfortunately, hydraulic pumps tend to get worn out after years of using them. This would certainly cause the ABS light to come on, which means you’d need to replace the pump right away.

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