What is ABS?

The ABS system is essentially helping the driver keep the vehicle stable in all situations. It is a system of sensors that feeds information to your car’s computer and it decides whether or not it has to intervene and keep you out of harm’s way. It measures the rotation speed of each wheel and its main job is to keep those speeds relatively the same.

What Does ABS Warning Light Mean?

This is a popular question in different forums, and quite frankly, often asked. Most of the people don’t know what ABS stands for, nor what it’s doing, so when they see the ABS warning light on their dashboards it surprises them, and the need to know its meaning arises. Let us clarify that ABS stands for Anti-lock Braking System. It prevents the locking of wheels, which may result in you losing control over the vehicle. The ABS light may come on for various reasons. It depends on the make of your car. Some will flash first, then light on permanently, others will just light on and off for no apparent reason. Some manufacturers implemented fault codes within the ABS warning light. The number of times it flashes on and off can mean a specific fault code. You will have to double-check that with your vehicle’s manual if present. Here are the most common reasons for an ABS light to pop out on your dashboards.

ABS light meanings:

  • Most of the systems flash the ABS light, when the system is active, in other words, taking control over the situation for a couple of seconds.
  • The ABS light can also light up when the system detects a low level of braking fluid.
  • The system will warn you with an ABS warning light if there is a blown fuse somewhere alongside the system. In such cases, the light stays on until the problem is resolved.

Those are the top most common reasons for an ABS light to turn on. So, now that you know what does abs warning light means, let’s talk about the possible scenarios and what you should do in them.

What to do When You See ABS light on Dashboard?

If you are driving on a slippery road and the abs light on your dashboard flashes for a brief second, it means that it has interfered and made some corrections. If you notice no difference in the way your vehicle is handling, great, it means the ABS is working properly. Wet roads, snow, dirt and gravel can cause wheel spin, which will activate the ABS. In such cases, you will notice the ABS light on dashboard flashing. If it stays on, however, it is best advised for you to pull over somewhere safe, as soon as possible. Turn your engine off and leave it to rest for a couple of seconds. When you start your engine again, your onboard computer will run a system check.  If after that check, your ABS light is not on, you can continue your journey, but visit a specialist as soon as you can, to check for any specific error codes that are stored on your car’s computer. If the ABS light on your dashboard is not turning off after you have “restarted” the computer in your vehicle, start checking for the reason. First of all, see if the level of your braking fluid is optimal. If not, re-fill and drive to the nearest mechanic shop, there might be a leak somewhere in the system. If the braking fluid level is within optimal level but your abs warning light stays on, there might be a fuse blown. Check with the manual to see which number fuse is responsible for the ABS. Change it with a spear and try again. If the abs warning light stays on, it might be best to call in someone to transport your vehicle to the nearest shop and have it diagnosed.

You can drive a vehicle that has an abs light on dashboard, only if you are sure that it is not because of a braking fluid leak. If there is no warning light accompanying the one for the ABS, and there is no loss of stopping power, you may drive your vehicle to a shop yourself. Just take extra care while driving, and keep in mind that in this state, the ABS will not be able to assist you if the vehicle skids on a sharp corner or slippery terrain. So, if you are not sure about it, opt for towing the vehicle.