If you are a car owner or are planning to be one, getting to know the functions of every part of your car is the first step to driving safely. One of the parts you should pay attention to is the ABS, represented by the ABS symbol on the control console on the dashboard. It’s not a wastage of your knowledge if you know how to reset ABS light without a scan tool!
ABS stands for the anti-lock braking system. From the name itself, the ABS prevents the wheels from fully locking up to allow you to step on the brakes and steer the vehicle simultaneously. It prevents uncontrollable skids and improves your vehicle control, especially on loose or slippery surfaces.
If you are braking heavily and you feel as if the brake pedal is pulsating, that means the ABS is functioning normally and keeping your wheels from locking up. You are good to go as long as the symbol is not lighting up.
How to reset ABS light without scan tool; this is what you need to know!
Flashing ABS Light
Every time you ignite your car, the ABS light, alongside other lights on your dashboard, will always turn on. This is perfectly normal, and it means that the light bulbs are functioning as they should. They should, however, turn off after a few minutes and should not go back on, unless they are alerting the driver about an issue with the system.
Therefore, if the ABS light comes on as you drive, treat it as a red flag and make time to inspect your vehicle. It signals that there is a problem with your ABS, and it might not engage properly should the need arise.
What issues could trigger the ABS light?
The ABS light could turn on for several reasons. The first instance is when it turns on during car ignition to test the normal functioning of the bulb connected to it. This is an essential feature as it should alert the driver should there be an issue with the bulb. In case the bulb is not functioning, you will have no way to tell when there is an issue with the ABS. This is because the ABS light is designed to alert you of any problems with your system, allowing you to correct any fault, therefore, averting any looming danger during driving.
The ABS light could turn on to point to an issue with itself or any other component in your car that could affect the optimal performance of your vehicle. The rest of the article looks at the various issues that could cause the lighting of the ABS light, as well as the measures to take, should you find yourself in such a situation.
1. Corroded ABS Module
The most common problem with the ABS is the formation of corrosion on its module. Such corrosion increases the resistance on the wires, thus, delaying or preventing communication between the module and the wheel speed sensor. Just a small amount of corrosion would illuminate the ABS light, and you would need to replace the module. So, you need to know how to reset ABS light without a scan tool.
2. Problematic Wheel Speed Sensor
The ABS depends on the wheels’ speed sensors. Therefore, an issue with this sensor could be the cause of the problem with your ABS light. The wheel sensors determine the rate of movement of each wheel and transmit the information to the ABS. Should the ABS detect that one of the wheels is moving slower than the rest, the system increases the pressure of the brake fluid. This is meant to allow the wheel to move in sync with the others.
However, the wheel speed sensor can easily get damaged due to the heat emitted by the brakes. Thus, a problem with the sensor can also light up the ABS symbol to warn the driver of the issue.
3. Worn Hydraulic Pump/Valve
After receiving the information from the wheel speed sensor, the ABS works on the slow-moving wheel by engaging the hydraulic pump. This increases the brake fluid pressure and enables the wheels to maintain on the road. Should the system encounter any hindrances affecting this issue, there will be an error, and you will be alerted by the ABS light.
A worn-out hydraulic pump could be such a cause. In case of such an occurrence, therefore, the ABS light will be triggered. That way, you will know of the issue with your system, thus, allowing you to replace the hydraulic pump or valve.
4. Low Braking Fluid Reservoir
The ABS uses braking fluid to control the pressure on wheels. Sometimes the brake fluid level could drop, and this could lead to problems with your vehicle’s functionality. Issues affecting the brake fluid could be leaks from the reservoir or excess air entering the system. In case of such problems, the ABS symbol will light up as a warning sign.
5. Irregularity in Bulb Check
The standard bulb check upon starting your vehicle informs you that your warning lights are functioning normally. This is a routine check to confirm that the bulb is working properly, and able to alert you of any issues that may affect your car’s performance. The lights should turn off by themselves after the check. However, if you notice that the light remains always on, it signifies that there is a glitch with the light. That light should be corrected as soon as possible to get it back running effectively and monitoring your vehicle’s performance.
What is the Solution?
If the ABS light turns on while you are driving, it is recommended that you first check the tires and the brake fluid level. If they turn out fine, you should consider consulting a mechanic for a scan of your module. Remember to drive and brake slowly on your way, as you cannot be sure that the car is operating at its optimum.
What if the ABS and brake system light are equally illuminated?
However, if the ABS light and the brake system light are equally illuminated, stop driving immediately. There is already a genuine problem in the braking system that could put you and others at increased risk. Have the entire system inspected and diagnosed by a mechanic.
How to Reset the ABS light?
Nowadays, drivers use personal OBD2 scanners to search for trouble codes from their vehicles. The basic scanners only read the engine memory, but high performing tools can scan other control units and do advanced programming. Using a scanner is the best way to solve issues with the ABS, as it will automatically check all error codes and let you know the exact problem with your vehicle.
However, apart from the use of a scanner, there are other ways that you can solve the issue. The following steps will help you reset the ABS light without using any scanning tool.
Check the Emergency Brake
The illuminated ABS light might be caused by the emergency brake’s failure to go down far enough to be applied. Adjust the emergency brake into the proper down position to make the light go off.
Flush and Replace the Brake Fluid
Only use quality brake fluids from trusted manufacturers. Top off the fluid if it is running low. Replacing the old fluid entails first removing it and wiping the reservoir clean. As you pour the new fluid, avoid exposing the brake fluid to air, which would contaminate it with water vapor. Contaminated fluid could rust and destroy the system.
Replace the ABS Fuse
If the fuse that protects the ABS is blown, it must be replaced with a new fuse of the same amperage to avoid malfunction and damage. The ABS relay should also be examined and replaced.
Test and Replace the Wheel Speed Sensor
Attach a voltmeter set up to the sensor and spin the wheel or hub to produce voltage. The voltage should increase and decrease according to the speed of the wheel or hub. But if the sensor failed to record this, it must be replaced. Metal shavings caught in the sensors also hinder performance. Also, look out for damaged or missing teeth in the stator ring or the ABS reluctor.
In the case of an open circuit in the wiring, repairing a broken or shorted wire should turn the ABS light off.
Replace the ABS Control Module
Remove the faulty module unit and match the replacement unit. The new unit should fit the electrical connectors and should sit right onto the valve assembly. Tighten the mounting bolts squarely into the pump and valve so these would work properly. Rid the connectors of dirt and grime.
As we have said before, the first step to driving safely on the road is having the right knowledge of the normal functioning of your car. That way, you will be able to inspect it always to ensure it stays in optimum performance. Among the features, you should always be on the look-out for is the anti-lock braking system. It gives you control to slow down or stop your car in case of emergency braking. If you ever notice the ABS light coming on while driving, the best step is to inspect the vehicle yourself immediately with or without a scanning tool. When in doubt, have an expert check it for a complete diagnosis.
So, we believe now you have a better knowledge of how to reset ABS light without a scan tool. Happy driving!
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