No ABS warning light should be ignored even if your vehicle is driving fine it could still be a danger in the streets.
If your vehicle has an ABS light on, then you may be asking
- What is ABS?
- Is it safe to drive with an ABS light?
- How to fix an ABS light?
- What are my other options?
Did you know?
ABS became a mandatory feature for all cars sold in the US after September of 2013. If your vehicle was manufactured before 2013, then it there’s a possibility that the vehicle is missing this feature. An easy way to check is to power on your car. If the vehicle has the feature, then you should notice an ABS light on the dashboard coming on and off a few times.
What is ABS?
The anti-lock brake system (ABS) is a safety feature put in by the manufacturer. It's designed to prevent your brakes from locking up after a heavy press on the pedal. The ultimate purpose of this system is not to improve your stopping power but instead to keep your tires in contact with the road to prevent any dangerous skidding.
Why is the ABS light coming on and off?
A flashing ABS light is not necessarily a bad sign. In most vehicles, the ABS light will come on and off after you start the car. This is just a self-testing routine that the system will perform every time the car starts to make sure that it's working as programmed.
Why did my ABS light come on while driving?
If your ABS light came on while driving, then your anti-lock system isn’t working at full capacity. Your brakes will still work but if you suddenly slam on them, then the ABS might not engage and you could lose control of the vehicle.
How do I know my ABS is working?
While pressing heavily on the brakes you will feel as if the pedal is shaking or trembling. Do not be frightened by this as it is normal. When you slam on the brakes your calipers will grip the rotors and will eventually cause them to lock. Thankfully, your ABS system has speed sensors that will set of a series of hydraulic valves. This will limit the amount of pressure put on the rotors and prevent them from locking.
When your ABS light comes on it doesn't mean your vehicle isn't safe to drive from point A to point B. The car will still function as normal, it will start up just fine and drive how it always has and your brakes will work as well. Now, let’s say a deer jumps out to the middle of the road or some car cuts you off and you have to slam on the brakes, there will be no guarantee that the ABS system will engage and you will run the risk of locking up your wheels causing you to uncontrollably skid into any direction.
When is it not safe to drive my car?
Besides the ABS light, your vehicle has brake warning light. This light comes on whenever there is an issue with your brakes. It could be something as simple as low brake fluid or loss of fluid pressure. Some newer cars even have sensors to measure your brake pads wear and will set off the warning light when it's time to change your brakes.
If your ABS warning light came on alongside the brake warning light then it is not recommended to drive the vehicle as both brake monitoring systems are experiencing issues and need immediate attention. We recommend towing the vehicle to a shop at this point and avoid driving it.
How To Fix An ABS Light?
ABS is complex safety feature with multiple speed sensors and modules. There is no “Quick Fix” for an ABS system and it should be worked on by certified professional. The first step is to diagnose the issue. If it's just one or two sensors then you're in luck as the repairs could cost a few hundred bucks and you're done with it.
Now, if your vehicle is having ABS issues and it was involved in a collision or previously repaired, then the repairs might not be so simple and it could mean a full ABS system swap, alongside other suspension and frame components that could be the source of the anti-lock malfunction.
The cost to fix an ABS system may vary based on the vehicle's year, make, and model. Also, the severity of the issue will affect the final cost of repair.
For a common car with minimal ABS issues you could expect to spend PETERS CREEK AUTO around $90 to $175 per speed sensor and the modules that go along with those sensors can cost up to $250 or more depending on what vehicle you own.
What are my other options?
Don't buy a part you don't need. Peters Creek Automotive, will test your car's parts for free.
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