The ABS warning light can be an ominous sign. Here’s what to do if you see it on your dashboard.
What is ABS?
The anti-lock braking system (ABS) helps you steer in emergencies by restoring traction to your tires and preventing wheels from locking up so you can steer to safety—in older vehicles, brakes have to be pumped to prevent them from locking which can cause the car to skid. The ABS light warns the driver that some type of fault has occurred in the anti-lock brake system and that your wheels are in danger of locking up.
The ABS warning light is tied to sensors in the anti-lock brake system. It typically looks like the letters ABS in a circle and flanked by two parentheses, or just letters ABS. If this light is activated it could look like the light pictured above.
Read more about possible triggers for the ABS warning light in our article, Is it safe to drive a car with ABS light on?
What should I do if my ABS warning light comes on?
The short answer is: get to your mechanic right away.
This light can be triggered by a number of things, from low brake fluid or a bad speed sensor to a failing ABS pump or a faulty control unit. Even if you don’t think it’s a serious problem, you shouldn’t delay in making an appointment. Your brakes are one of the most, if not the most, important safety features on your vehicle; if you can’t stop properly, you’re likely to cause an accident.
If your ABS warning light comes on get your car serviced ASAP. Anti-lock braking systems keep your car stable and controllable in sudden stop situations.