Car Reviews

How to clear ABS Lighting

In emergency braking situations — called “panic stopping” in some
parts of the world — wheels can come to a complete stop while the vehicle is
still moving, especially on wet or otherwise slippery road surfaces. Such
skidding markedly reduces driver control. The National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration describes anti-lock brakes as “Keep(ing) your wheels from
locking up, so your car maintains directional control around hazards if you
can’t make a complete stop in time.” A fault with this system, as indicated by
the ABS light illuminating, should be addressed immediately.
Anti-lock Brake Systems
Harsh braking that involves full
application usually leads to skidding, with which most drivers are not trained
to cope. The driver of a car that does not have an ABS system has to pump the
brakes on and off, rapidly and regularly, to prevent wheel lock-up. It is
particularly difficult to concentrate on this in an emergency situation. ABS
performs this function automatically through the use of an electronic control
unit — effectively, a dedicated onboard computer — and motors that alter the
pressure of the brake fluid delivered to each wheel, keeping them as fully
applied as possible without allowing them to stop rotating.
Warning Light for breaking
On vehicles fitted with an anti-lock
braking system, the brake warning light is separate from the ABS light. The
brake warning light is invariably a red symbol that displays on the dash, and
it indicates a problem with the mechanical condition of the system. This light
could indicate that pads and/or rotors are worn below a safe level, that brake
fluid is low in the reservoir or that air has entered the hydraulic system and
it is no longer functioning optimally. While these are not ABS issues, the
vehicle should not be driven until they are addressed.
ABS Warning Light
The ABS light will illuminate
briefly on most cars when they are first started; this is to assure the driver
that the system has been checked and is working properly. When the ABS light
remains illuminated it indicates the computer has sensed a fault in the
anti-lock braking system, with the ABS control module or one or more of the
mechanical components. Although most vehicles can still be driven when the ABS
light is illuminated, safe braking in emergency situations is likely to be
negatively affected. The issue should be addressed immediately. According to,
traction control systems are also likely to cease operation when the ABS system
is experiencing issues.
Resolving an ABS Problem

A properly programmed scanner must
be used to display the fault code or codes. Trained technicians can interpret
these codes, specify the problems and fix them. It is not recommended that
anyone but the most competent of do-it-yourself mechanics attempt to work on a
vehicle’s braking system.

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