The ABS light – the average consumer’s nightmare. What is the ABS light meaning? Why does it turn on and how to fix ABS light? All these and other questions will be answered in the text below.
Practically all modern cars have an anti-brake lock system or ABS for short. It’s a part of mandatory manufacturing and car design practices and has proven to be quite successful in saving lives and preventing car accidents, especially in areas that likely get snow and ice during the winter months.
The good news is that even if your car’s ABS light is on, it will revert back to “normal” braking, meaning that you can still drive the car, you just need to be more careful.
We at USTrans.com, do suggest you go and get your system checked, not only to remove the ABS car light, but to also restore the optimal braking capacity of your vehicle.
What is ABS in a Car and What Does ABS Stand For
As we mentioned above, ABS stands for Anti-lock System, which operates the braking on all four tires of your vehicle. But what is ABS really? For those wondering what are anti-lock brakes, these are systems which prevent your brake calipers from locking on the wheel disks.
Instead, they pulse the calipers onto the drums or disks separately based on the individual speed of each wheel. Why is this necessary? Once the wheels on a car lock-up you lose tire-to-road grip and control over the direction of the vehicle.
The system prevents this from happening, allowing for the retention of control over the steering of the vehicle while increasing braking distance by only 5-10%. All cars manufactured after 1990, Asian, European or US-made, have this system even in its most basic form.
The Importance of the ABS System in Modern Cars
Maintaining control over most situations while moving at 60 m/h in a 4000-pound hunk of metal powered by controlled explosions from dinosaur juice, has never been more important.
With more than 290 million registered and operated vehicles in the US alone, preventing accidents with innovative, smart technologies is a must. The modern ABS system is on par with safer car shells and air bags, for the most lives saved in the last 40 years.
Since the implementation of ABS systems on all cars manufactured after 1990, less and less loss of control or skidding related fatal accidents occur. This illustrates why it’s so important to maintain your braking system and tires.
Modern systems have four sensors, one on each wheel, which are entirely computer controlled. The sensors send information back to the main ABS modulator located in the front of the vehicle, with four feed channels running back to each caliper to provide the actual modulation of the brakes.
The modern ABS systems rely on two types of braking – cadence braking and threshold braking which prevent the locking of the wheels at optimal brake pedal depression.
Cadence braking pulses the calipers, whereas threshold braking relies on precise calculations of the point of loss of control of traction between the tire and the road. It brakes just before the threshold is met, as to optimize the braking distance of the vehicle.
ABS Light Came on – Why
The most common reasons for an ABS light on dash can be several ones. To get the full story of the reasons for the light to turn on, you might need a scan tool or to pay a professional mechanic to read the codes. The most often reasons for an ABS warning light are:
- System malfunction;
- Low levels of braking fluid;
- Misaligned or malfunctioning ABS module or sensor;
- You turned off your ABS.
Since it’s an electronically operated system in your vehicle, there might be some issue with it’s fuse or with the main modulator which operates the calipers.
There also might be an issue with your electrical wiring which is why we do recommend you check in with a specialized mechanic who has a diagnostics computer to check the different possible codes.
The most common codes are related to the sensors on the wheels or the different solenoids responsible for their operation. If you scan your own vehicle, you might expect to get the following codes:
- C0060: Left front ABS solenoid 1 – circuit malfunction;
- C0065: Left front ABS solenoid 2 – circuit malfunction;
- C0070: Right front ABS solenoid 1 – circuit malfunction;
- C0075: Right front ABS solenoid 2 – circuit malfunction;
- C0080: Left rear ABS solenoid 1 – circuit malfunction;
- C0085: Left rear ABS solenoid 2 – circuit malfunction;
- C0090: Right rear ABS solenoid 1 – circuit malfunction;
- C0095: Right rear ABS solenoid 2 – circuit malfunction.
There are also other issues that might occur and trip a code or make the abs light turn on, like a misaligned sensor on a wheel you’ve had recently checked.
If you are having your brakes changed or you’ve recently had an inspection of the brakes, where some dismantling was required, and you get an ABS light on your dash, it means there’s a problem with the alignment of the wheel sensor.
You turned off your ABS – some vehicles have ABS On/Off functions, meaning the driver can decide whether to drive with the system engaged or disengaged.
There are many reasons for it, for instance more control over cornering when drifting which is a technique requiring agile feet and an even more agile braking system (which threshold and cadence braking do not allow).
ABS systems are quite important for car transportation as well especially when driving a vehicle on the trailer ramp. Taking it of the trailer also requires superior control over the motion of the vehicle, which is why we ask our customers to let us know if the car has steering or braking issues.
The USTrans.com team hopes this informational text helped you better understand some common car issues and thus reduce the “fear factor” of the unknown ABS car light.