5 Symptoms of a Bad ABS Control Module (and Replacement Cost)

The anti-lock braking system control module, also known as the ABS control module, works to prevent your wheels from locking up as you’re driving. This is especially important when you must put on the brakes suddenly to prevent an accident or crash.

That way, your wheels won’t lose any traction after you apply the brakes. If you’re driving in tough terrains or weather conditions, the only way you’ll be able to survive is with a fully functional ABS control module.

Common Bad ABS Control Module Symptoms

The ABS control module ensures that you drive safely and securely on the road. The worst thing that can happen is to have a bad control module and then find out about it on the road.

Below are five of the most common symptoms that will let you know that your ABS control module is failing. Once you find this out, get to a mechanic and have the module replaced right away.

1) Brakes Locking

The whole purpose of an ABS control module is to prevent locking of the wheels. If you notice that your wheels are locking up while you’re driving, then this obviously means that your ABS control module is faulty or damaged.

Do not wait to fix this problem because it will only get worse and cause a lot more locking on the road as time goes on.

2) ABS Light On

If you have a newer car, then it should have an ABS light on the dashboard. If your ABS control module were to go bad, this dashboard light should come on.

The light will likely be an amber color so it will be easy to recognize. However, if you have an older car, then the “check engine” light will be used to indicate this problem instead of the ABS light.

3) Brake Pedal is Unresponsive

If you put your foot on the brake pedal and the car does not slow down at all as it normally does, this is obviously a sign that there is a problem.

In the beginning, the symptom will start out gradually where you will have to press your foot down on the pedal a couple of times to get it to work. But then as time goes on, you will have to press down more times just to perform one braking function.

It will eventually get to the point where it stops working altogether. So, don’t wait for it to get to this point.

4) Increased Brake Pedal Effort

You may be in a situation where the brake pedal of your vehicle works, but it requires a lot more pressure on your part just to perform a simple braking function.

A brake pedal should not require this much pressure. You should be able to just lightly press your foot down on the brake pedal for the braking to work. If you have to increase your effort just to do this, then your ABS control module may be bad.

5) Speedometer Fails

In rare cases where your ABS control module doesn’t work, the speedometer on the dashboard will stop working. Either it will show you an incorrect speed or the needle will just rest at 0 mph.

This will usually be followed by the ABS or check engine light coming on. But even if the light doesn’t come on, a bad speedometer should be reason enough to get your car checked out by a professional.

ABS Control Module Replacement Cost

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It will cost a minimum of about $300 to replace an ABS control module and a maximum of $1,200. This total  will also have additional fees and taxes added onto it as well.

The exact price of the replacement job will greatly depend on the type of car you have and the prices charged by the mechanic who works on your car. They will typically charge anywhere from $80 to $110 for the labor costs and anywhere from $220 to $1,090 for the parts costs.

14 thoughts on “5 Symptoms of a Bad ABS Control Module (and Replacement Cost)”


  2. The brake pedal in my ’06 Silverado 1500 collapsed halfway down and held abruptly at that halfway point. This happened while I was idling at a dead stop in a parking lot. As I depressed the pedal with constant pressure for a minute or so, it simply collapsed suddenly!
    The rear axle grease seals had also ruptured so when I checked the brake lines and changed the rear pads the next day, I also replaced the grese seals and changed the differential fluid.
    After all that, the brake pedal remains at that same halfway height to which it had collapsed!!
    It is not spongy, In fact it is solid, and pumping the pedal it does not have any effect on its height or effectiveness.
    The mechanics at car X have a confirmed there is no leak in the lines or the master cylinder. Yet the pedal remains at half its normal height. They suggested that it might be a failed the ABS, but they couldnt confirm that a 1/2 height brake pedal would be a symptom of that condition. Any ideas??

  3. 2010 ford Taurus sel.had break job and master cylinder replaced. Breaks still mushy. My mechanic thinks its the abs control module ,but the abs light is not on?

    • It’s certainly plausible. Any air in the system can cause a mushy brake pedal, and the ABS sensors may not detect this. If the brakes were not bled properly, it is possible there is still some residual air left in the ABS module.

      If the pedal goes to the floor with minimal stopping power, this is something that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. However, some cars just have a slightly squishy pedal from the factory by design. If the pedal feels similar to how it did before the brake job, you may be fine. It would be best to get a second opinion from a mechanic who can feel the brakes in person to determine if they need more work.

  4. I have 2006 Toyota Tundra whenever I press the brakes I makes a buzzing sound not scrubbing. It that a possibility of the ABS pump going bad.

    • Does this happen when you lightly tap the brakes or when you push hard and trigger the ABS? I would take it to a shop to get it looked at.

  5. I have a 2005 gmc 1500 2wd. My service brake came on I paid no mind. But now my truck died no one can find the problem.

  6. 95 Chevy blazer.
    When I press the brake pedal it pushes back against me and makes a kind of grinding noise. It returns to normal after I drive and the car warms up. The ABS light then comes on and it runs fine. Any ideas? Cost?

    • I just had this happen to my 2004 F150. Did you ever get an answer to your question?
      After I first start the truck, the ABS is active whenever I apply the brakes. This only happens a couple of times, then the ABS light comes on and stays on. The brakes then work normally. At least until the truck is turned off.

  7. The brake pedal went to the floor without any warning twice on my 2002 Saturn L series. Talked to my mechanic and replaced the master cylinder. Worked great for about a week and a half until yesterday when the LF brake caliper started to lock up. As I limped it down the shoulder the RF brake started grabbing too. I replaced the LF caliper last night, bled the brake lines but that new caliper still doesn’t release. Also noticed that my ABS light came on and now my traction control ON/OFF button doesn’t light up. Is this a failed ABS module? Also, is the ABS module the same thing as the “Electronic Brake and Traction Control Module”?

    • I don’t think a failed ABS module would cause calipers to seize like that. Yes, an ABS module is also called an Electronic Brake and Traction Control Module on some vehicles. You may see this shortened to EBCM by some manufacturers (GM likes to do this).


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