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Your car’s instrument panel can be a very helpful tool to help you understand if there’s a problem in one of your car’s vital components or none. One of them is the ABS warning light. Regrettably, not everyone truly appreciates the implications of continuing to drive with this warning light turned on. So what exactly does the ABS warning light mean?

Your Car’s ABS

Modern automobiles are engineering marvels that come with very complex computers that process a variety of technical information from a host of sensors scattered throughout the vehicle. One of the sensors is integrated into your car’s brake system. Aptly called the Anti-lock Braking System or ABS, this system is what continuously monitors your car’s wheels to make sure that all wheels are turning at exactly the same speed. In simpler terms, the ABS is what helps your tyres in maintaining contact with the surface of the road every time you apply the brakes. As the name implies, Anti-lock Braking System helps prevent the wheels on your car from locking up. This helps prevent skidding especially on slippery surfaces.

So What Does it Mean If the ABS Warning Light is On?

Your car’s ABS will perform a self-test each time you turn on your car’s ignition. This will normally turn on the ABS warning light as well as all the different information on your instrument panel. If the onboard computer on your car identifies a possible problem, then this warning light will stay lit; otherwise, if the ABS warning light only turned on momentarily after turning the ignition on then you should not really worry as it’s a standard self-test.

Now if you are already on the road and the ABS warning light suddenly turned on, it simply means your car’s ABS is not working properly. Since the ABS is most helpful in emergency situations wherein you need to come to an abrupt stop or if you’re driving down a slippery road, employing defensive driving techniques should be able to get you to your destination safely. In such cases, if the ABS warning light turned on while you’re driving, your brakes will still work. However, you will be at risk of skidding so it’s best to keep your distance from other vehicles.

If both the brake system light and the ABS warning light turned on while you’re driving, or the two indicator lights did not turn off after cranking your engine, it is always a sure sign that your vehicle’s brake system is already failing. It is highly recommended that you pull over to the side of the road and call for emergency towing services. Or, if you haven’t left the safety of your garage yet then by all means leave your car and hop on to a bus, cab or public transport instead. It really isn’t recommended that you use your car with both the ABS warning light and the brake system light turned on.

What You Should Do In Case Your Car’s ABS Warning Light is On

As we have already mentioned earlier, if only the ABS warning light is on you can still drive your car but with extreme caution. You can also try to perform a reset of your car’s computer systems. You can turn off the engine, wait a couple of minutes, and then crank it up again. This should restart the process of consolidating sensor information. Our recommendation is to bring it to a certified technician to have your vehicle checked and run a complete diagnostics of the car’s computer.

While it is perfectly okay to drive your car even with the ABS warning light turned on, we don’t really recommend it. It is still best to have your car checked for the integrity of its computer and sensor systems.

Sources:

  1. What Does the ABS Warning Light Mean? – Your Mechanic
  2. ABS Brake Repair: What to Do if the ABS Light Stays On – doityourself

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