What to Do if Your ABS Light Comes On

While its appearance is synonymous with needing to repair some aspect of your vehicle brake system, many vehicle owners today are unsure of what to do when the ABS light comes on. You certainly can’t ignore that orange or red light, so you need to learn what to do next time the ABS light appears on your dashboard.

The ABS light on most vehicles illuminates when there is a problem with the built-in antilock brake system, causing said system to shut down. Though this does not mean your regular braking system is in any danger, you should still initiate one of the following resolution methods as soon as possible:

Fix #1: Continue Driving to your Auto Mechanic

If the ABS light illuminates while you are driving, don’t panic. Your vehicle should still be operating as expected, with the exception of the now-halted antilock brake system. Because this system is not operating, be sure to drive carefully and avoid situations where sudden braking will be necessary.


When it is safe to do so, drive your vehicle to your trusted mechanic and ask them to evaluate the cause of the illuminated ABS light. They may discuss several potential triggers for this light, including low ABS fluid, a faulty control unit, or bad speed sensors (among others). In any case, they will prescribe the best method for fixing your ABS system, likely for a modest fee.


Fix #2: At-Home Diagnostic with an OBD-II Scanner


If you already possess a wealth of auto repair knowledge, you may consider following the DIY route for fixing your ABS malfunction. The best way to initiate this hands-on approach is by procuring and using a specialized tool called an OBD-II scanner. This digital device plugs into your vehicle and reads out information related to all errors stored in the vehicle’s computer.


After performing the scan, you may need to go online or check a knowledge database to decipher the scanner’s various error codes. Once you’ve translated these codes, you’ll have a better idea of what has gone wrong in your ABS system. Accordingly, you can take action to procure the parts and tools needed to repair any malfunctioning system component.


Fix #3: Rule Out One Common Causes


Whether you plan to take your vehicle into a mechanic, or you plan to fix your ABS malfunction on your own, you can start your ABS light resolution process with a single quick fix. First, the ABS system is most often triggered by low brake fluid levels. Check your owner’s manual and then purchase the appropriate type of brake fluid for your vehicle before adding it into the main reservoir.


If this causes the ABS light to disappear, then you’ve found the problem and fixed it swiftly. It the error light persists, however, you may need to seek out further assistance in order to bring your ABS system back into working order. Contact the team at Living the Dream Auto Care today for help!


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