Maintenance Tips, Tricks And Hacks For Your Vehicle

Is It Safe To Drive With ABS And Brake Light On

Author:

Published:

Updated:

When you turn on your engine, the computer runs a series of tests to ensure that all the features are working properly.

If there is something wrong with some of the features, the computer lets you know by illuminating a light on the dashboard. One of those features is the ABS. Is it safe to drive with ABS and brake light on?

Key Takeaway

  • It is not safe to drive with ABS and brake light on because the light indicates that there is something wrong with the anti-lock braking system (ABS) which provides reduced braking distance and steerability control of the vehicle at all times.
  • The Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) is a safety feature in vehicles that prevents wheels from locking up by automatically modulating the brake pressure during an emergency stop, allowing the driver to maintain steering control while braking.
  • While you can technically drive with the ABS and brake light on, you shouldn’t do it.

Is It Safe To Drive With ABS And Brake Light On

Is It Safe To Drive With ABS And Brake Light On

No, it is not safe to drive with both ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and brake lights on because when both lights are on at the same time, it means there could be a serious problem with your vehicle’s braking system.

The ABS light on its own indicates a fault in the ABS system, but it won’t affect normal braking.

However, if both the ABS and brake system lights come on simultaneously, your vehicle is no longer safe to drive. This could indicate low brake fluid or an issue with the hydraulic system.

It’s recommended to get your car checked by a professional as soon as possible to prevent potential accidents.

What Is ABS And How Does It Works

ABS stands for the anti-lock brake system and it’s a safety and stability feature that our vehicles offer and have offered for quite a long time. What exactly does ABS do?

In the event of a panic stop or a situation on a slippery, snowy, and rainy road or something like that, you hit the brakes and the tires lock up. The ABS system’s job is to modulate the brakes for you. It’s essentially pumping the pedal like you normally would have on your vehicles before the ABS system.

It’s doing it much faster than we can and it’s keeping the wheels from locking up. By keeping the wheels from locking up, it’s much easier to maintain the vehicle in a straight line, rather than a certain wheel locking up and causing the vehicle to veer in certain directions.

When the ABS system has a failure, the red brake light could mean that there is something wrong with the stability control, squiggly lines for traction control, or even the tire pressure monitoring system light is on. All those systems are dependent upon the ABS system.

The ABS system is going to watch the speed of the wheels. So, in the event of a wheel slipping during takeoff, the traction control would use that information to control the wheels from slipping to help you stop easier on a snowy or rainy day.

How Long Can You Drive with ABS and Brake Light On?

Although some mechanics might suggest that you could potentially drive for about 2-3 hours with only the ABS light on, it’s crucial to note that this is not advisable.

Driving with both the ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and brake light on is not recommended. If both lights come on at the same time, it indicates a serious problem with your vehicle’s braking system and it can be unsafe to drive.

The moment these lights come on, especially together, your priority should be to get your vehicle to a professional mechanic or service center as soon as possible to prevent potential accidents.

What Causes ABS Light To Come On and Off?

  • Faulty Wheel Speed Sensors: These sensors can become dirty or damaged, causing the ABS light to flicker on and off.
  • Low Brake Fluid Levels: If the brake fluid level is low, the ABS light may come on and off intermittently.
  • Damaged Wiring: Any damage or corrosion in the wiring connected to the ABS system can cause the light to flash on and off.
  • Worn-Out Brake Components: If the brake pads, rotors, or other components are excessively worn, it could trigger the ABS light.
  • Faulty ABS Module: A malfunctioning ABS module can cause the ABS light to come on and off.
  • Inconsistent Battery Voltage: If your car’s battery voltage fluctuates, it may affect the ABS system and cause the light to blink.

What Are the Risks of Driving With an ABS and Brake Light On?

  • Increased risk of skidding or sliding in wet or icy conditions due to the ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) not functioning properly.
  • Potential complete loss of braking ability if there’s a total brake system failure.
  • Damaging other parts of your vehicle, such as rotors and calipers, due to excessive heat from the brakes.
  • Increased stopping distance, which could lead to collisions.
  • Reduced brake performance on uneven surfaces.
  • Possible hydraulic brake fluid leak, which can cause brake failure.
  • Increased risk of overheating the brake system, leading to brake fade or failure.

Symptoms of Faulty ABS

  • Illuminated ABS warning light
  • Unresponsive brake pedal
  • Brakes locking up
  • Unusual sounds from brakes
  • Increased effort to brake
  • Incorrect speedometer readings
  • Poor traction

Symptoms of Faulty Brakes

  • Brake Light On
  • Squealing or Squeaking Noises
  • Grinding Noises
  • Wobbling or Vibration When Braking
  • Leaking Fluid
  • Spongy or Soft Brake Pedal
  • Car Pulling to One Side When Braking
  • Increased Stopping Distances
  • Brake Grabbing
  • High-Pitched Noises from the Brakes
  • Warning Lights on Dashboard
  • Unusual Sounds When Braking
  • Screeching or Grinding Noises
  • Vibrations When Braking
  • Pulling to One Side When Braking
  • Thin brake pads
  • Poor brake performance
  • Puddles on the driveway
  • Loud metallic sounds

Things To Check When Your ABS and Brake Light Comes On

  1. Brake Fluid Level: Check your brake fluid level in the reservoir. If it’s low, top it up to the correct level.
  2. Brake Pads and Rotors: Inspect your brake pads and rotors for wear and tear. If they’re excessively worn, they may need to be replaced.
  3. ABS Sensors: The ABS system relies on sensors to function properly. Dust, dirt, or damage can cause these sensors to malfunction. Clean them and check for any visible damage.
  4. Wiring and Fuses: Inspect the wiring leading to the ABS system and the associated fuses. Look for any signs of damage, corrosion, or loose connections.
  5. Brake Lines: Examine the brake lines for any leaks or damage. Leaks can cause a drop in hydraulic pressure, affecting brake performance.
  6. ABS Module: The ABS module controls the entire system. If there’s a problem with the module, it could cause the ABS light to come on.
  7. Tire Pressure: Uneven tire pressure can sometimes trigger the ABS light. Check that all tires are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI.
  8. Battery Voltage: A weak battery can sometimes cause the ABS light to come on. Check your battery voltage to ensure it’s within the normal range.

How Much Does it Cost to Fix ABS and Brake Light?

The cost to fix the ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and brake light can vary significantly depending on the underlying issue causing the lights to come on. Here are some general estimates:

  • ABS Control Module Replacement: The total cost of parts and labor to replace an ABS control module can range between $320 and $1,000 [getjerry.com].
  • ABS Diagnosis: Labor costs for diagnosing an ABS issue are estimated between $83 and $105 [repairpal.com].
  • ABS Module Replacement: The average cost for ABS module replacement is between $1,174 to $1,301 [kbb.com].
  • Wheel Sensor Replacement: Each wheel sensor can cost approximately $200 to replace [costhack.com].
  • Initial Diagnosis: A mechanic may charge around $100 for the initial diagnosis [openbay.com].
  • ABS Sensor Replacement: The cost of an ABS sensor replacement depends on your vehicle, but you can expect a charge between $100-$150 and labor costs between $100-$300 [way.com].

How To Quickly Reset The Your ABS System

  1. Turn the key on but do not start your engine. Just turn it to the on position and wait for all the lights on your dashboard to start illuminating.
  2. Do three quick presses on your gas pedal.
  3. Wait a few moments and check your dashboard.
  4. Start your engine and check your dashboard again.

At this point, the reset process is complete. Hopefully, this resets your ABS system and allows all of the system parameters to realign and begin working properly.

During that reset, the actual computer dumps all the data and then regathers the new data. It will verify that all parts that are tied to your ABS system are working and are in their proper configuration.

If your ABS light is still on, then there is something wrong with your ABS system and the previous ABS light was not due to an error reading. At this point, you should drive your vehicle to the repair shop and fix your ABS system.

FAQs

Q: What does the ABS light mean?

A: The ABS light is a warning light that indicates an issue with the Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) in your vehicle. When this light is illuminated, it means there is a problem with the ABS system that needs to be addressed.

Q: What causes the ABS light to come on?

A: There are several possible reasons why the ABS light may come on. Some common causes include a malfunctioning ABS sensor, low brake fluid level, a problem with the ABS module, or worn brake pads.

Q: Can I drive with the ABS light on?

A: While it is possible to drive your car with the ABS light on, it is not advisable. The ABS light indicates a problem with the ABS system, which can affect your vehicle’s braking performance and increase the risk of accidents.

Q: What should I do if the ABS light comes on?

A: If the ABS light comes on, it is important to have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible. They can diagnose the issue and recommend the necessary repairs to ensure your vehicle’s safety.

Q: Can worn brake pads cause the ABS light to come on?

A: Yes, worn brake pads can cause the ABS light to come on. When the brake pads are worn down, it can affect the brake system’s performance and trigger the ABS warning light.

Q: Is it safe to drive my car if the ABS light comes on?

A: Driving with the ABS light on is not recommended as it indicates a problem with the ABS system. It is important to have the issue resolved to ensure your vehicle’s braking system is functioning properly.

Q: What are some common causes of ABS light issues?

A: Some common causes of ABS light issues include a malfunctioning ABS sensor, a problem with the ABS module, a low brake fluid level, or a problem with the brake pedal or brake line.

Q: What does it mean if the ABS warning light comes on?

A: If the ABS warning light comes on, it indicates a problem with the Anti-Lock Brake System in your vehicle. It is important to have the issue diagnosed and repaired to ensure the proper functioning of your vehicle’s braking system.

Q: Can a problem with the ABS system also cause the check engine light to come on?

A: No, a problem with the ABS system does not typically cause the check engine light to come on. The ABS system and the engine system are separate and have their own warning lights.

In Conclusion

Driving with both the ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and brake light on is not safe.

These warning lights indicate issues with the vehicle’s braking system, which could potentially lead to a loss of braking ability, increased stopping distances, or other dangerous situations.

Therefore, if both lights come on simultaneously, it’s crucial to get your vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic as soon as possible.

Ignoring these warning signs could lead to serious accidents, costly repairs, and even endanger lives.

MECHANIC APPROVED

✔️ REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Vide Polowenski, Senior Mechanic

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

Learn more »

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.

Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

Latest posts

  • Why Is The Fan Making Noise After The Engine Is Turned Off?

    Why Is The Fan Making Noise After The Engine Is Turned Off?

    When you turn off your car’s engine and still hear the fan running, it can be a puzzling and concerning experience. This phenomenon, while not uncommon, often raises questions about the health and functioning of the vehicle. The cooling fan, an essential component of a car’s cooling system, is designed to regulate engine temperature and…

    Read more

  • Do Cooling System Sealers Work? Get Expert Insights.

    Do Cooling System Sealers Work? Get Expert Insights.

    Coolant leaks can present a frustrating and potentially costly problem for vehicle owners. While replacing faulty parts can be effective, it can also be expensive. As a result, many car owners turn to cooling system sealers as a potentially more cost-effective solution. But do these sealers actually work? In this article, we will explore the…

    Read more

  • Will The Cooling System Bleed Itself?

    Will The Cooling System Bleed Itself?

    One of the critical components of a vehicle’s engine is the cooling system. It plays a vital role in keeping the engine at an optimal operating temperature, preventing damage due to overheating. The cooling system consists of several parts, including the radiator, water pump, thermostat, and coolant. But, what happens when air pockets make their way into the system? Can the…

    Read more