When a light on your car’s dashboard comes on while you're driving, it can be pretty disconcerting. Regardless of what light pops on, it should never be ignored, as they usually provide insight into any problems that may be occurring within your vehicle.
When it comes to your ABS or traction control lights, it is important to understand what these lights may mean so you can protect your vehicle as well as everyone’s safety. Today, the friendly auto repair experts at Christian Brothers Automotive in Queen Creek, AZ, discuss some of the most common reasons why your ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) or traction control light is on.
Editor’s Note: This blog has been updated as of 2021 to reflect current industry knowledge and standards.
Something Is Wrong with Your ABS
Traction control and ABS often share the same control module and internal self-diagnostics system. This means that sometimes an issue in the ABS can trigger the traction control light to come on. However, if this is the case, both the ABS and traction control lights will be on.
Some signs that something may be wrong with your ABS control module include:
Abs light is on
Brakes lock up
Unresponsive brake pedal
Brake pedal requires an extra push
If you are experiencing any of these above problems, and your dashboard has recently lit up, something may be internally wrong with your ABS. It is important to have this inspected and repaired as soon as possible to ensure your vehicle remains safe and operational.
Your Low on Brake Fluid in Your Vehicle
One reason your vehicle’s ABS light is on is that it may be sensing abnormally low levels of brake fluid. If your brake fluid is low, you will be able to notice through the quality of your car’s braking as it may seem soft or spongy.
In some cases, you may need your car’s brake fluid replaced altogether. Healthy brake fluid should be almost clear, with a slight hint of yellow. You should have your brake fluid flushed and replaced if the color is closer to dark brown or black. Additionally, be sure to check for burnt smells, as fresh brake fluid should smell sweet and never burnt.
Broken Wheel Speed Sensors
Wheel speed sensors are usually a part of the wheel hub assembly and determine the rate at which each wheel is moving. The sensors send that information to the traction control module, which determines whether or not power needs to be shifted. Wheel speed sensors can get dirty or damaged and stop working overtime, preventing the traction control module from knowing when to enable the system.
Traction Control Is Turned Off
Many new vehicles give drivers the option to turn off the traction control. So, if your vehicle's traction control light is on, it may be as simple as making sure your traction control is not turned off. Commonly located near the steering wheel on the instrument plane, you will be able to turn it back on via a simple switch. You should only feel the need to turn off the traction control in specific situations, usually involving being stuck in the likes of snow or mud.
ABS & Tractional Control Light Diagnostic
Regardless of the symptoms you are experiencing along with the ABS or traction control light appearing on your dashboard, you should have it inspected by a professional mechanic as soon as possible. The brake and traction control system are some of the most important components of your car’s operations, as well as the safety of you and everyone on the road. With the help of our Courtesy Inspections, our certified technicians in Queen Creek, Arizona, will be able to quickly diagnose the problem your brakes are experiencing and provide you with a solution that’s custom to your vehicle’s needs.