What Does ABS Mean on a Car?

What Does ABS Mean on a Car

ABS means antilock braking system, a system created to prevent a car’s wheel and axle from locking. This ensures that the car does not skid when too much pressure is applied to the brakes. 

Why Is the ABS Light on in Your Car?

ABS lights on car

Notice the ABS light on in your car?

This light can be either red, orange, or amber. 

Normally, it’ll turn on the moment you start your car. However, if it doesn’t turn off right after, it could mean there’s something wrong with your ABS system.

You see, the ABS system works by making sure your tires don’t lock and cause your car to skid. 

When one tire is turning slower than the others, the system pumps its brakes so it catches up with the other three. 

An ABS light that’s on may be an indication that something has gone wrong and is preventing the system from performing. 

Here are four things that could have caused your ABS system to malfunction.

1. Your ABS System Is Clashing with Your Traction Control System

Your traction control system is another system created for your protection by preventing skidding. 

However, since both systems share the same control module, they can sometimes clash. When that happens, your ABS system may turn off, causing your ABS light to go on. 

2. There’s a Leak in Your Fluid Reservoir 

Your brakes need a steady stream of brake fluid to allow them to work properly.

When there’s a leak in your fluid reservoir (or if you haven’t been up-to-date with regular tune-ups), your brakes will stop functioning at an optimum level. 

Your ABS system will detect this, and cause your ABS light to come on. 

3. Your Wheel Speed Sensors Aren’t Working Properly 

Speed sensors are attached to each of your car’s wheels to monitor how fast they’re turning. 

The data these sensors collect helps synchronize the wheels so they turn at the same speed. 

However, if the sensor is broken or dirty, it will be unable to accurately collect information. 

Instead of making a ton of adjustments, your car’s controls will shut your ABS system off instead. 

4. There’s a Broken Wire Between Your Car’s Sensors and ABS Controller 

When one of your car’s sensors isn’t working, the ABS system will automatically get shut off. 

This can happen when one of the wires connecting the sensors to your ABS system gets broken or damaged. 

What Should You Do When Your ABS Light Is On?

The truth is, an ABS light that’s on doesn’t have to cause panic. 

At times, it can only mean that your sensors are dirty and are in need of cleaning. Or your electronics could be malfunctioning, and only need a little maintenance to get them right again. 

However, if the light stays on persistently, it’s a good idea to take your car to a mechanic. 

Your ABS system plays an important role in your safety as you drive your car, so ensuring its good condition is a must.

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