ABS Light Coming On & Off: Is It Serious? 5 Reason, Cost & Fix

A blinking ABS light is not normal and indicates a problem with the ABS. It can be caused by many factors, which may include a faulty ABS module, low brake fluid, and bad speed sensors, among many other factors. 

Personally, my ABS light has been triggered. I did not get it fixed early enough and experienced a delay in braking and inaccurate speedometer reading. When I took my vehicle for repair, I was told my ABS sensor was bad and needed a new one.  Below are some reasons your ABS light may be triggered.

5 Reasons For ABS Light Coming On & Off

1. Faulty ABS Module

The ABS module is the microprocessor device that controls and makes diagnostics of the vehicle’s anti lock braking system, ensuring it is functioning properly. It also receives data from the speed sensors and hydraulic system, which helps the module determine when the breaks will be initialized. 

The ABS functions together with the Traction Control because they share a module. Once there is a failure with either the ABS or Traction control, this could automatically trigger the ABS light.  One of the major reasons the ABS and Traction Control may fail may be due to corrosion formed after a while of use. To fix any problem relating to the ABS module, you will need deeply specialized diagnostics before you go on to repair or replace it.   

2. Broken Speed Sensors 

The speed sensors are another important part of the ABS. The speed sensors help the ABS module the required information to release the vehicle’s brake. Once the speed sensors get damaged, the ABS will not be able to receive vital information about the condition of the wheel and thus trigger the Abs warning light.

3. Low Level of Brake Fluid 

Your vehicle uses a hydraulic brake system, which means that it uses the brake fluid to transfer, which will be used to apply the brake. If your car is low on brake fluid, then you will experience a hard stop, and the ABS will not be able to function properly. 

4. System Check 

In some rear cases, your ABS light might be blinking because your vehicle’s system is conducting a system check. A system check is a form of self-check that your vehicle’s engine is in to show if all the engine parts are working. 

Your ABS light blinking might be a result of a bulb check which could be related to the system check. The bulb check indicates that all the warning lights on the dashboards are working properly.  

5. Switched Off ABS System 

Many people do not know this, but users can turn off the ABS and traction control. Once the ABS and Traction control is turned off, the ABS light will come on, telling the driver that the system is no longer functioning and there may be a need to turn it on. 

Once your notice the ABS light, it would be best to confirm if the ABS has been switched off.


Is ABS Warning Light Serious? (Safe To Drive?)

The ABS warning light lets you know is wrong with the ABS and needs to be checked immediately. Although the light is serious, you can still drive with ABS light triggered. However,  it will be best if you fix it as soon as possible.

The ABS warning light could be serious, especially concerning a bad ABS module. You can experience many problems when driving with a faulty ABS module, some of which may include the following. Here’s what could happen if you drive with ABS light on:

1. Locked up brakes

Once the ABS module is bad, it will not be able to perform its basic function, which is to stop the wheel from locking up, especially during heavy braking. When driving, you can also experience your brake lock even under normal driving conditions. 

You can also experience clicking or any other unusual sound from your wheel when driving and the abnormal condition of your brakes. In cases like this, the ABS condition can be dangerous, and you need to fix it. 

2. Increase Effort in Applying the Brakes

An ABS light relating to a faulty ABS may be accompanied by a lagging brake pedal, which may need more effort to respond. A normal working brake does not require much effort when hitting the pedal. 

3. Unresponsive Brake Light

In some extreme cases, the brake might become unresponsive after some time of driving your car with a failed or failing ABS module. It would help if you took note of the ABS light, which is accompanied by a brake warning light. Situations like this could be dangerous, and you should immediately find a place to park your vehicle and get professional help. Unresponsive brake could be caused by many other factors and is not tied to ABS alone.  

4. Inaccurate speedometer

Another common symptom of a bad ABS is a wrong speedometer. The speedometer makes use of the speed sensors just like the ABS light. Once the ABS fails, it could be associated with a bad speed sensor. Once the speed sensor is bad, your speedometer will no longer read correctly. Your speedometer may read either zero or may not be correct at all. Other symptoms could come with a faulty ABS light caused by a defective ABS module, but these are the common ones. 


Where Can I Get My Abs Light Checked?

Once your ABS light comes on, you can get it checked at any certified mechanic around you. It will cost you about $100 or more. But fixing the issue causing the ABS light will prevent further damage to your vehicle. 

Having an ABS light on could be complicated because there are so many factors that could cause the light to be triggered. Diagnosing the problem yourself could be difficult, especially if you do not have the right tools. You must find the right place to check the ABS light and properly diagnose it. 

Now that you have recognized that you need to take your vehicle to a professional, you are now posed with which professional mechanical will be able to do the job. When looking for a mechanic, you need to watch out for certified mechanics. For instance, the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifies care professionals. If the mechanic has been certified by the ASE or bodies like the ASE, you can patronize them. 

You can also easily find a good mechanic through recommendations from trusted people, online reviews, and other places where you can get good ratings for mechanics, like forums. Once you find one, make sure that you are properly briefed about the problem that your ABS may be having and its underlying causes, this will help you take the proper step to ensure that the problem does not repeat itself. 

Also Read: StabiliTrak Service: The Meaning, Causes, Fixes & Warranty


How Do I Reset My ABS System?

If you want to reset your ABS, you will need an OBD code reader, and you may also need a new speed sensor. The process is easy, and you may not need professional help. 

To reset your ABS light, you will need to follow the steps listed below.

  1. The first thing you will need to do is disconnect your vehicle’s battery.
  2. Proceed to press down the brake pedal. Doing this will drain your vehicle’s electronic system and its components. The Powertrain Control Module (PCM) should reset if this is done long enough. 
  3. If the ABS light should come on again, you need an ABS sensor replacement.
  4. To replace the ABS sensor, you will need to locate which is located at the wheel hub, then the sensor housing and then proceed to close the housing.
  5. Disconnect the wires and go on to install the new sensors. 
  6. After doing this, repeat the initial step to reset the PCM.
  7. If, after doing all these, the light still comes on, you will need the OBD scan tool. There is still a problem that has not been solved, and the OBD device can help you diagnose the problem.

You can also proceed to a professional mechanic to help do a proper diagnosis of problems that may trigger the light. Once the problem has been properly diagnosed and solved, the mechanic will reset the system, and the light will no longer come up.  


How Much Does It Cost to Fix ABS?

Fixing ABS may cost $300 – $1000 depending on the problems and mechanic.

To fix the ABS module, it’s usually between $300 to $1000. An extra cost may be incurred to get a professional to fix the problem, costing $100 above.  Fixing your ABS problem may vary according to the cause of the ABS problem

A faulty ABS may be caused by different reasons, such as a faulty ABS sensor or a damaged ABS module. If your faulty ABS results from a defective or damaged ABS sensor, it may not be as expensive as fixing a damaged ABS module. It costs between $200 and $400 to replace an ABS sensor.

If you are replacing your ABS module, you will be spending between $300 and $1000. The price may cost more depending on the brand and model of vehicle your use and how hard it is to find the module control. 

Some ABS problems are traced to fewer problems, like low brake fluid will cost even less. All you need to do is refill the brake fluid, which will cost between $5 to $30.   



Q: Can Worn Brake Pads Cause Abs Light to Come On?

A worn-out brake pad can cause the ABS light to come on. Although a different system completely controls the Brake pad and the ABS, they do work together. The brake pads can trigger the ABS light when your speed sensors get damaged due to the worn-out pads. 

Worn pad can damage the speed sensor because of the continuously aggressive application of the worn brake pads. The metal shaving can cause damage to the sensor’s wiring and the sensor. Also, the worn brake can trigger the ABS light by consuming more brake fluid than usual, and we know that low brake fluid will trigger the ABS light.


Q: Can Dirty Brake Fluid Cause Abs Light to Come On?

Dirty brake fluid can cause the brake pad to wear, which can cause the ABS light to come on by damaging the speed sensors or wiring. The sensors are very close to the brake and can easily be affected by a bad or worn-out brake.  


Q: How Long Do Abs Sensors Last?

If the vehicle’s brake system is managed properly, ABS sensors are meant to last between 30,000 to 50,000 miles. Many factors can cause the sensors to get damaged; it is important to identify various factors that could affect the sensors, like the brake pads, wobbling tone rings, bad brake fluids, etc. Once these factors are properly managed, you can enjoy a long-lasting ABS sensor. 


Q: Can ABS Be Turned Off?

The ABS can be turned off through a lot of mediums. You can use the stability control to switch off the ABS and activate it using the same medium. You can also deactivate the ABS by simply disconnecting the ABS speed sensors. Another way to turn off the ABS is by just disconnecting the ABS module. Disconnecting your ABS is not advisable as it can greatly affect your vehicle’s braking system.


Q: Where Is the ABS Relay Located?

The ABS relay is in the engine compartment fuse box, which is in the engine compartment close to the battery. It is completely sealed by a covering and to access the ABS relay; you will have to turn the knob open.    

Ifandi L.

Ifandi L.

Passionate about everything mechanical. Ifandi has been involved with motorcycles and cars since the old days - in his family's auto parts shop. Want to keep in touch? Scream "STRAIGHT PIPEEEEE" at the top of your lungs and Ifandi will show up.

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