ABS and Traction Control Light On | How to Fix It | Cause

ABS and Traction Control Light On | What It Means and How to Fix It

ABS and Traction Control Light On

When the ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and traction control lights come on in your vehicle, it’s more than just an annoyance; it’s a sign that something could be wrong with your car’s safety systems. These lights are crucial indicators designed to ensure your vehicle remains safe to drive. Ignoring them could lead to more significant problems down the road.

What is ABS and Traction Control Systems?

What is ABS?

ABS stands for Anti-lock Braking System. It’s a safety feature in modern vehicles that prevents the wheels from locking up during hard braking, maintaining steering control and preventing skidding.

How Does ABS Work?

ABS uses sensors to monitor wheel speed. If it detects a wheel is about to lock up, it modulates brake pressure to allow the wheel to keep rotating. This action helps maintain traction and control during emergency stops.

What is Traction Control?

Traction control is a system that prevents the wheels from spinning uncontrollably during acceleration. It’s especially useful on slippery surfaces like ice or wet roads.

How Does Traction Control Work?

Traction control uses the same sensors as the ABS. When it detects wheel spin, it reduces engine power and can apply the brakes to individual wheels to regain traction.

Common Causes for ABS and Traction Control Lights On

ABS and Traction Control Light On

1. Faulty Wheel Speed Sensors

These sensors are critical for both ABS and traction control systems. If they fail, the systems can’t function correctly, triggering the warning lights.

2, Bad ABS Module

The ABS module processes data from the sensors and controls the braking system. A failure here can disable the entire ABS system.

3. Low Brake Fluid

Insufficient brake fluid can affect the performance of the ABS, causing the warning light to come on.

4. Wiring Issues

Damaged or corroded wiring can disrupt the signals between the sensors and the ABS module, leading to warning lights.

4. Faulty Traction Control Module

If this module fails, the traction control system won’t work properly, causing the light to illuminate.

5. Worn Brake Pads or Rotors

Excessive wear on brake components can sometimes trigger the ABS and traction control lights.

Diagnose the Issue

ABS and Traction Control Light On

1. Check for Other Warning Lights

If other warning lights are on, it can help diagnose the issue. For example, the check engine light might indicate a broader problem affecting multiple systems.

2. Inspect Brake Fluid Levels

Ensure your brake fluid is at the correct level. Low brake fluid can trigger the ABS light.

3. Examine Wheel Speed Sensors

Look for visible damage or disconnections in the wheel speed sensors and their wiring.

4. Use an OBD-II Scanner

An OBD-II scanner can read the error codes from your vehicle’s computer, helping to pinpoint the exact issue.

5. When to Consult a Mechanic

If you’re unable to diagnose or fix the problem yourself, it’s time to visit a mechanic.

Steps to Take When the Lights Come On

ABS and Traction Control Light On

Immediate Actions

  • Drive Cautiously: Both ABS and traction control are safety systems. Without them, your vehicle won’t handle emergency situations as well.
  • Avoid Hard Braking: Try to avoid situations that require hard braking.

Safe Driving Tips

  • Maintain a Safe Distance: Give yourself extra space from the car in front of you.
  • Reduce Speed: Drive slower, especially in poor weather conditions.

Scheduling a Professional Inspection

Book an appointment with a mechanic to have the issue diagnosed and repaired professionally.

Repair and Maintenance Tips

ABS and Traction Control Light On

Regular Brake Inspections

Have your brakes inspected regularly to catch problems early.

Maintaining Brake Fluid Levels

Regularly check and top up brake fluid to ensure proper system function.

Replacing Worn Components

Timely replacement of brake pads, rotors, and sensors can prevent system failures.

Importance of Timely Repairs

Addressing issues as soon as they arise can prevent more extensive and expensive repairs later.

Preventative Measures

Routine Maintenance Checks

Regular maintenance checks can identify and address issues before they become serious.

Keeping Sensor Areas Clean

Keep areas around sensors free of dirt and debris to ensure they function correctly.

Addressing Issues Promptly

Don’t ignore warning lights; prompt attention can save you money and keep you safe.

Cost Implications

Average Repair Costs

Repair costs can vary widely. Simple fixes like sensor replacement might cost around $100, while more complex repairs can exceed $1000.

Factors Affecting Costs

The make and model of your vehicle, the specific problem, and labor rates all influence repair costs.

Cost-Saving Tips

  • Shop Around: Get multiple quotes for repairs.
  • Preventative Maintenance: Regular maintenance can prevent costly repairs.

ABS and Traction Control Light On


The ABS and traction control lights are vital indicators of your vehicle’s safety systems. Ignoring these warnings can compromise your safety. Regular maintenance and prompt attention to any issues ensure that your vehicle remains reliable and safe to drive.

Read More: FWD vs AWD


Can I drive with the ABS and traction control lights on?

Yes, but exercise caution. These systems enhance safety, and driving without them can be risky, especially in poor conditions.

How much does it cost to fix ABS and traction control systems?

Repair costs vary widely, ranging from around $100 for sensor replacements to over $1000 for more complex issues.

What happens if the ABS light stays on?

If the ABS light remains on, the system is disabled, increasing the risk of wheel lock-up during hard braking.

How often should wheel speed sensors be replaced?

Wheel speed sensors typically last the life of the vehicle but should be inspected regularly and replaced if faulty.

Is it safe to disable traction control?

While it’s generally not recommended, temporarily disabling traction control can be helpful in certain situations, such as getting unstuck from snow.

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I'm Ankit Gawande, the driving force behind this automotive haven. As an avid car and bike enthusiast, I've spent years immersing myself in the world of automobiles, and I'm thrilled to share my passion with you through this platform. At autocurious.com, I wear many hats - from a DIY enthusiast tinkering in the garage to a tech-savvy explorer delving into the world of electric vehicles. Through informative blogs, insightful tips, and comprehensive guides, I aim to empower fellow enthusiasts with knowledge about cars, bikes, and everything in between.

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