Why Does My ABS Light Flash?

by Stacy ZogheibUpdated August 06, 2023

Cars today have a multitude of sensors and warning lights that can alert the driver to a variety of potential problems. There are dashboard lights that can warn you that your car is low on oil, remind you to wear your seat belt and indicate a possible problem with your ABS system. If your ABS warning light flashes on, here’s what it could mean.

What are ABS Brakes?

ABS stands for Antilock Braking System. When activated, the ABS module pumps the brakes very quickly to make sure the car doesn't skid on slippery or dangerous roads.

Reasons for the ABS Light

With ABS light on, the car's braking system might have an issue. The brake light can mean that the ABS brakes have low levels of brake fluid or that the safety system is malfunctioning.

  • If the ABS light flashes, this indicates a major problem that has disabled the ABS brakes. A major problem could be a faulty wiring harness or wheel speed sensor.
  • If ABS light stays on then goes out on your control module, this indicates a minor problem and the brake pedal may still function. Common reasons for this are low brake fluid levels or a brake pad that is wet or worn out.

Your car may also have ABS codes for specific wheels.

  • If one becomes a repeating issue, you may have a broken wheel sensor.
  • If a fault code comes on with a check engine light, you could have a blown fuse.

Look up these error codes in your owner’s manual to learn more.

What to Do

Diagnosing a problem with the ABS sensor can be complicated. In general it is best to take the car to an auto repair shop or a certified mechanic at a dealership. The ABS system is essential for safe driving and it should be in good working order at all times.

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