Find Your Engine Kit Here

ABS: What is that light and why is it on?

You may notice a light in your dash that comes on from time to time with the letters "ABS".  ABS is actually an abbreviation for "Antilock Braking System".  When the light is flashing it is a warning to alert you that the system has deactivated because of some type of malfunction.  

The ABS warning does not mean your brakes will no longer work.  In fact, they should continue to work just fine.  However, the ABS acts as a mechanism to prevent wheels from locking up during braking.  This affects stability control and traction control to keep you on the road.  Stability control is now a requirement in all new vehicles (beginning in 2012).  

The ABS is important because it helps prevent a loss of control during braking.  It helps with wheel lock up which in turn, helps with skidding and loss of steering control.  

What causes the ABS system warning light to display? It can be caused by a number of things:

  • A blown fuse.  
  • A short or break in the wiring between the sensors and the ABS system
  • A damaged sensor in the wheel 
  • A sensor that is covered in dirt or grime usually picked up from the road

If you notice the ABS warning light, usually amber in color, it's best to have your vehicle checked out to see if it needs attention or even repair work.