ABS Warning Light
If the ABS Warning Light is on, is it still
safe to drive?
An ABS warning light means the ABS system
has been deactivated because of a self-diagnosed fault. Normal braking
should remain. The vehicle should be safe to drive provided the driver
does not have to call on his ABS system when panic braking on a wet
or slick surface.
An ABS warning light may also indicate a
loss of power-assist if the vehicle has an ABS system relying on an
electric pump and pressure accumulator pump rather than a conventional
The car will still brake, but will not have
the usual power assist. This could create an unsafe situation for drivers
who have difficulty braking without power assist.
An anti-lock warning lamp that comes on when
the car starts moving, or anti-lock braking operation or valve cycling
that occurs during normal stops on dry pavement, often indicates a problem
with one of the wheel speed sensors.
When both brake and antilock warning lights
are on, and there is a lack of normal power assist, the pump may be
inoperative on applications that have an integral ABS system.
When both warning lamps are on and power
assist is present, it may indicate a low brake fluid level or loss of
hydraulic pressure in one of the brake circuits.
ABS is essentially an add-on to the existing
brake system. It only comes into play when traction conditions are marginal
or during sudden panic stops. The rest of the time, it has no effect
on normal driving or braking.
If brakes are pulling or grabbing during
normal braking, it is not an ABS problem. The vehicle has a conventional
brake problem needing attention.
A brake warning lamp (not ABS lamp) that
remains on or comes on while driving, usually signals a problem with
the hydraulic system, not the ABS system. There may be a fluid leak
or loss of pressure, either of which pose a danger to safe braking.
The cause of the brake warning light should be investigated immediately.