Is it safe to drive a car with ABS light on?
The ABS light a dashboard warning light that is tied to sensors in the anti-lock brake system. These lights are usually yellow or orange or even red in some vehicles. They typically look like the letters ABS in a circle and flanked by two parentheses, or just letters ABS.
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.
What can trigger it?
Some of the common triggers for an ABS light include:
Standard Bulb Check: If the light comes on when you start your vehicle, and then goes off, don’t worry. This is totally normal—nothing to be concerned about here.
Low Brake Fluid: If the fluid in your brake lines gets too low, ABS can’t work properly. You should check your brake fluid regularly, and fill it if necessary. Be sure to use the correct type of fluid and only from a newly opened container, or just bring your car to a professional technician.
Faulty Control Unit: As its name would suggest, the ABS control unit controls the whole ABS system; if it fails your ABS may not work at all. You should see a mechanic right away.
Bad Speed Sensor or Wiring Problem: A bad speed sensor or broken wire, like the one shown above, isn’t difficult to repair but it requires a professional to diagnose and repair this problem.
Failing ABS Pump: The ABS pump re-pressurizes the valve when the brake lines lose pressure. If this pump brakes the ABS light will come on and you will notice a marked decrease in your vehicle’s performance.
Read more: 5 Simple Ways to Take Care of Your Brake Lines
If you start to experience any of these symptoms, you should bring your car in for service right away. While you may still be able to drive your car, it can be exceptionally dangerous—especially if you get into a car accident or have to drive in inclement weather.
Your vehicle’s braking system is its most important safety feature. We encourage all motorists to keep an eye out for brake repair needs. Just by checking for the early warning signs, you can stay two steps ahead of any costly brake repair.
At V&F, our certified mechanics use the latest diagnostic equipment, and high-quality CARQUEST auto parts, to make sure we get the job done right. Plus, our auto repair services are backed by an industry-leading 3 year / 36,000-mile warranty on parts and labor. Call us today at (413) 314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.