How to Troubleshoot the ABS Light on Ford Vans

by Duncan Jenkins

The ABS system in a Ford van is essential to the safety of the vehicle. Anti-Lock Braking systems keep the car from skidding out of control when stopping suddenly and excessively. If the ABS light is on, it's very important to locate and solve the problem quickly and correctly.

How to Troubleshoot the ABS Light on Ford Vans

Ensure the light is not on unnecessarily. Sometimes the ABS will come on due to a computer malfunction when there is in fact no problem with the Anti-Lock Braking system. To check for this, do the following: turn off the vehicle. Let stand for a few minutes. Start back up and drive for a few minutes at varying speeds from 0-45. Repeat this three times. If the light remains on at all times during the tests, you have a legitimate issue.

Check the brake fluid. If the fluid is below the fill level, sensors alert the main computer on the Ford van. This in turn lights up the ABS light (and possibly the main brake light as well). If your fluid is below the fill line, fill it to said line. Then repeat the three tests outlined in Step 1. If the problem persists, move to Step 2.

Determine if the problem is electrical or mechanical. To do this, you'll need to rule out the technical variety. On a jack begin by removing the wheels from the front axle and examining the brake pads and rotors. If there is any corrosion or rust on either part, or if the brake pads are worn and in need of replacement, this may be the cause of your ABS lighting up. However, if your brake pads and rotors seem in good working order, you most likely have an electrical problem.

Contact a mechanic. An electrical problem can only be determined through a full scan, which will reveal a certain code corresponding to a malfunctioning sensor. Unfortunately, these sensor issues must be troubleshot by a licensed mechanic. Find a reputable mechanic in your area to run the scan and estimate the cost of repairing the malfunctioning sensor.

About the Author

Based in Eugene, Ore., Duncan Jenkins has been writing finance-related articles since 2008. His specialties include personal finance advice, mortgage/equity loans and credit management. Jenkins obtained his bachelor's degree in English from Clark University.