ABS stands for the anti-lock brake system, and it's needed to improve traction on slippery roads. However, there are times when the ABS light can come on, indicating there is a problem with the system. When this happens, you need to know how to reset the ABS light and enjoy a safe drive.
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ABS Lights & Traction Control Explained
The ABS is part of all modern vehicles, ensuring that the speed sensors, wheels, and braking system work together in harmony to improve traction and safety. The purpose of the system is to prevent accidents from happening.
The ABS prevents wheels from locking up, giving you control over your vehicle in less than ideal conditions. At first, the system was used on aircraft during the 1950s. Just a couple of decades later, both Chrysler and Ford became pioneers by offering it on automobiles.
Common Reasons Your ABS Light Is On
Bad Wheel Speed Sensor
The speed sensor checks how fast the wheel is traveling. It also ensures that the ABS turns on when one wheel is moving faster than the rest. If the sensor is faulty, the ABS light will come on to indicate there is trouble with the system.
Worn Hydraulic Pump Or Valve
The ABS sensor monitors the hydraulic pump and valves as well. The pump is needed to increase pressure on the brakes when the wheel speeds are going faster than others. Hydraulic pressure needs to be used to apply the brakes appropriately, but a faulty system can trigger the ABS light.
Bad ABS Tone Ring
The ABS ring is used to measure speed from the wheel sensors. When it fails, the ABS light can come on. Additionally, you might notice that the brake pedal pulsates, or the vehicle loses some of its braking ability.
Low Levels in the Fluid Reservoir
Brake fluid is needed to activate the system. When there isn’t enough fluid in the system, the ABS light can come on to indicate it’s time to refill the reservoir. Letting the fluid run low can also lead to air infiltrating the system.
Faulty Or Broken Wires To ABS Sensor
The ABS system contains numerous wires that can become faulty over time. If one of the wires malfunctions or breaks, the ABS sensor won’t receive an appropriate signal, leading to the light coming on.
Bad Brake Pedal Sensor / Light Switch
Whenever there is a problem with the brake pedal, the ABS light can come on to alert you. Whether the brake pedal itself is causing a problem or the light switch has malfunctioned, the alert tells you to fix the fault.
Corroded ABS Module
All metal parts can become rusted over time, including the ABS module. When this happens, the system can malfunction due to a lack of communication. In this case, the ABS module will need to be replaced.
How To Reset ABS Light With A Scan Tool
If you want to know how to reset the ABS and traction control light, you first need to find the right diagnostic tool. The scan tool with ABS functions will help you read and reset the trouble codes. If you are asking, “How do I reset my ABS and traction control light,” simply follow these steps.
- 1Clean the area around the ABS computer. Ensure there is no debris or dirt.
- 2Attach your diagnostic scanner to the car’s computer.
- 3Look up the trouble code online or in your service manual to figure out what’s wrong.
- 4Repair the problem.
- 5Reset the code with the diagnostic scanner.
Resetting ABS Light Without A Scan Tool
Why would you need to learn how to reset an ABS light without a scan tool? You may not have a scanning tool, and you don't want to invest the money. If so, you can follow these steps to learn how to reset a Ford ABS light without a scan tool.
- 1Gather your equipment before getting started. You will need a fused jumper wire if you don’t have a scan tool. Aside from this, there’s no other equipment that should be required other than what was needed to repair the broken component that set off the trouble code in the first place.
- 2Find the data link connector in your vehicle. The DLC is typically located under the driver’s side dash or below the glove box. Sometimes, it is also in the engine compartment, located near the intake manifold.
- 3With the ignition off, connect the two DLC fuses with a jumper wire.
- 4Turn on the ignition but don’t crank the engine. Wait until you see the ABS light come on and flash a few times.
- 5Push the brake pedal down. You should hear a click sound, which indicates when you should release the brake. Continue pushing and releasing the brake pedal eight times over three seconds. The ABS light should stop flashing at this point. It will illuminate for a second and flash four times to show that the code has been cleared.
- 6Turn the vehicle off and remove the connectors you hooked up.
While you might be able to figure out how to reset an ABS warning light without repairing the problem first, this process will be fruitless. Without repairing the fault, the ABS light is going to come on again as soon as the trouble code sets. That’s why you want to have the problem repaired before you follow our steps above.
Tips For Resetting ABS Lights On Common Car Brands
Do you know how to reset the ABS light on a Chevy Impala? If the steps above don’t help, you could temporarily disconnect your battery to reset all of the electronics. However, you will also lose radio presets, the clock, and other valuable settings that can create an inconvenience.
Figuring out how to reset an ABS light on Chevy Uplander models isn’t much different than the other vehicles we have talked about. However, you might not need the jumper wire. Instead, turn the vehicle on without starting the engine and press the brake pedal all the way down and release it. Do this three times until the computer resets.
Hyundai Santa Fe
Learning how to reset an ABS light on Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs requires that you unplug the battery and hold the brake pedal down to the floor to drain the system of power. Then, plug the system back in to see if the code is gone. Either way, you will need to reset all of the electronics.
We can also show you how to reset an ABS light on a Honda Accord. First, turn on the ignition without starting the car. Press the brake pedal and release it until the light comes on. Hold the pedal down once more until the light is off and release it. When the ABS light blinks twice, the codes should be deleted.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Can you reset the trailer ABS light on a Freightliner?
If you are trying to figure out how to reset an ABS light on a Freightliner or you want to reset the trailer ABS light, you should take your vehicle to a qualified mechanic. There's a reason why the light is on, and you should address it promptly. Otherwise, to reset it, the entire system needs to be rebooted.
How do you reset the ABS light on Harley Davidson?
Figuring out how to reset an ABS light on Harley Davidson motorcycles requires you to pump the brakes a few times with the engine off. However, if this doesn’t work, you should have the bike looked at by a qualified motorcycle mechanic.
Can I drive with ABS light on?
While having the ABS light won’t stop you from driving, it can create problems with the anti-lock brakes and traction control. Instead of driving with the light on, you want to have a mechanic read the codes and fix the problem.
How far can I drive with the ABS light on?
In most cases, the ABS light will not interfere with normal driving. However, the lack of anti-lock brakes can cause trouble when hitting slippery roads or if you lose traction, making it unsafe to travel without this system working.
Can low tire pressure cause ABS light to come on?
Because low tire pressure can create trouble with the wheel sensors, it is possible to have the ABS light come on if the pressures aren’t right. Check the tire pressure if you think this is the cause.
Learning how to reset the ABS and traction control light doesn’t require a lot of effort. With our steps, you can figure out how to reset it with your code scanner and without, offering plenty of versatility for your drive.