Maintenance Tips, Tricks And Hacks For Your Vehicle

ABS and Brake Light Come On At The Same Time – What Does This Mean




It can be a little bit confusing if you see both the ABS and brake light illuminated on the dashboard. One thing is for certain: If you see the ABS and brake light on your dashboard, driving isn’t safe anymore. There is a good chance that your sensors have gone bad and are sending wrong reports, but there is also a good chance that both the ABS and regular brakes on your vehicle are not working.

In this blog post, I will discuss what it means when your brake lights and ABS come on at the same time. I will also explain how to distinguish the two and how to fix the problem.

When the ABS and brake light come on at the same time it means that the vehicle’s computer has registered problems with both the ABS braking and the regular braking, thus the illuminated lights. The ABS light could be triggered due to contaminated sensors, damaged sensor wiring, or dirty brake fluid. As far as the brake light, it could be due to worn brake pads, worn brake shoes, or low fluid.

Key Takeaway

  • When the ABS and brake lights come on at the same time, it means that the system has detected an issue with the ABS and the regular braking, thus triggering both lights.
  • It can cost anywhere from $50 – $1000 to fix the ABS and brake light, depending on what is causing it.
  • Low brake fluid can cause the ABS light to come on because the pressure created when you press the brake pedal is low due to low brake fluid. This information is sent to the main computer, and the ABS light is triggered.
  • If the ABS light is triggered due to low brake fluid, adding more will fix the problem.

ABS and Brake Light Come On At The Same Time – What Does This Mean

ABS and Brake Light Come On At The Same Time - What Does This Mean

When the ABS and brake light come on simultaneously, it means that the vehicle’s computer has registered a problem with the ABS which triggered the ABS light, the braking got switched to regular brakes but that system also wasn’t working properly which also triggered the brake light. When the ABS system isn’t working anymore, it has a fail-safe switch that reverts the braking to regular non-ABS brakes.

ABS and brake lights often come on at the same time, leaving many car owners confused as to why the two aren’t more separate. The truth is there is an actual connection between Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS) and regular brakes.

The ABS and regular brakes share the same wheel sensors and the same braking fluid. This means that if the vehicle is low on braking fluid, or some of the wheel sensors are faulty, the vehicle’s computer will trigger both the ABS and the brake light on the dashboard.

The first thing you should do if you see the ABS and brake light on your dashboard is to safely come to a stop and check the braking fluid level. The brake fluid reservoir has two lines, one for low and one for full. If your fluid is more on the low side, make sure that you add more brake fluid. It is always important to use the correct brake fluid which will be listed in the owner’s manual.

However, if the braking fluid is at the correct level, it means that there could be an issue with the wheel sensors. It can be quite hard to check those, especially if you are on a highway or a busy street. So, it is best if you call a tow truck at this point. Driving with no brakes is not only illegal but extremely dangerous.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix The ABS and Brake Light?

Fixing the ABS and brake light may range between $144.67 and $1010.49, depending on what exactly is causing the lights to be illuminated in the first place. The price range is large, however, you can get a mechanic to test your ABS and braking system for about $50 and let you know about the parts price. Below I will break down the cost of parts and it will be much easier for you to know how much will it cost once you know what is wrong with your ABS and braking system.

PartPart CostLabor Cost
ABS Hydraulic Assembly$1010.49$205
ABS Control Module$488.17$131
ABS Modulator Valve$987.25$104
Electronic Brake Control Module$175.17$131
ABS Pressure Modulator Valve$1005.46$131
Electronic Brake Module Connector$82.19$60
ABS Pressure Monitor Switch$57.97$100
Electric Brake Control Wiring Harness$68.92$60
ABS Control Unit$475.71$105
ABS Pump and Motor Assembly$282.31$75
Brake Control Relay Connector$27.70$35
Traction Control Connector$36.73$35
Brake Pressure Modulator Valve Solenoid Connector$23.85$35
Brake Pads$37.49$120
Brake Fluid 32oz$10.99$10
Brake Rotor$97.99$150
Brake Shoe$77.99$157

Can Low Brake Fluid Cause The ABS Light To Come On?

ABS and Brake Light Come On At The Same Time - What Does This Mean

Brake fluid is a type of hydraulic fluid commonly used within brake and anti-lock braking systems. Typically it’s made from a mixture of glycol and borate esters, providing an efficient and reliable medium for transferring pressure throughout the ABS system. When you press the brake pedal, the pressure created will act on the brake fluid which then presses against the wheel cylinders with increased pressures, causing the brakes to engage.

In addition to this, ABS allows real-time adjustments in wheel cylinder pressure to be made through electronic signals sent to tiny solenoid valves in order to adjust traction according to various driving conditions. A computer then receives wheel speed readings at regular intervals and adjusts wheel cylinder pressure accordingly, allowing for maximum control and stability over braking force applied under extreme or challenging conditions.

Low brake fluid can cause the ABS light to come on because when the braking fluid is low, the pressure created when you press the brake pedal is also low, which leads to a decrease in responsiveness when applying the brakes. The ABS computer will pick up this decrease in responsiveness and will trigger an ABS light on the dashboard.

Adding brake fluid to a car is an important part of routine maintenance. Start by locating the reservoir, usually located behind or near the brake master cylinder. Ensure that you have the right type of fluid for your vehicle. Use a lint-free rag to remove any dirt and debris from the reservoir opening before opening it. You can see two markings on the reservoir: low and full. Fill it with the recommended brake fluid up to the full mark.

Will Brake Fluid Fix The ABS Light?

ABS and Brake Light Come On At The Same Time - What Does This Mean

Due to the complicated nature of automobiles, it is sometimes difficult for a car owner to determine what is causing an issue. This is especially true when one of the dashboard lights illuminates. One light that commonly trips is the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) light. This signal can indicate a variety of issues, many of which require professional attention to properly diagnose and repair.

The ABS light triggers when there is too little brake fluid in the car. In some vehicles, the brake fluid level sensor detects how much fluid is left in the system and alerts the driver with a warning indicator. This can be helpful since it lets them know of an imminent problem and gives them time to have it repaired before any additional issues arise from the low fluid levels.

Without the proper braking pressure from ample brake fluid levels, your vehicle won’t be able to brake effectively. This is why it is always important to monitor the brake fluid level.

If the ABS light was triggered due to low brake fluid, adding brake fluid will cause the ABS light to turn off. When you add the brake fluid, start the vehicle and press the brake pedal a couple of times. This will allow the freshly added braking fluid to circulate the system and the brakes will start to work again. By doing so, you are also going to notify the ABS computer that everything is alright with the brakes and that the ABS light can be turned off.

However, if the issue was not the low brake fluid, the ABS light will stay on. This means that other components of the ABS have failed. In this case, it is a good idea to scan the vehicle for trouble codes. The ABS is a complicated system with many components which makes it almost impossible to determine the cause without a scanner.

How To Diagnose ABS and Brake Light Before Going To A Mechanic

When both ABS (anti-lock braking system) and Brake warning lights illuminate at once, it is critical to diagnose the problem quickly. There are a few steps you can take in order to troubleshoot this yourself before visiting a mechanic for further assistance.

Check for loose or faulty wiring

Begin by inspecting the wiring harness connecting to the ABS for any loose wires or disconnections. This simple step can save time and money if done correctly.

Check the brake fluid level

After that, move on to checking the brake fluid level. Low levels of brake fluid may cause both lights to come on simultaneously, so make sure there is always enough liquid in there.

Look for signs of wear and tear

Next, inspect your brakes for any signs of wear and tear as this could also trigger a warning light. If they appear in good condition, make sure the ABS sensor and its wiring are connected securely.

An ABS sensor that senses changes in wheel speed could be malfunctioning or disconnected, leading to both lights coming on simultaneously.

Visually inspect the brake calipers and rotors

Finally, examine your brake calipers and rotors for any signs of damage or wear as this could explain why your lights are illuminated.

If everything appears to be in order and all connections seem secure, then it might be time to take your vehicle to a mechanic for further evaluation.

A certified technician can test out every component more thoroughly so that your car runs as safely as possible.



Vide Polowenski, Senior Mechanic

The information in this article is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest mechanic SOPs.

Please take the time to leave a comment if this article has helped you in any way, you need additional help, or you have a suggestion.

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