What Is ABS Sensor & Why ABS Sensor Light Comes On?

Are you wondering what the ABS light on your car’s dashboard is? why it comes on and what you should do about it?

If so, you are on the right page because we have the answers to your questions.

The ABS sensor is a sensor that helps your car’s brake to function properly. The ABS sensor measures how fast the wheels turn and sends that information to the electronic control module (ECM), which calculates if the wheel is rotating too much or freezing up altogether to apply the breaks accordingly.

In this article, we answer some of the questions you might have relating to the ABS sensor, such as What is an ABS sensor, How does an ABS sensor work, and Several reasons why the ABS light can turn on, and what you can do about it.

Let’s get started

What is An ABS Sensor

The ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) is an improved braking system often found in newer cars. This computerized braking system helps the driver keep control of the steering wheel and the vehicle, especially when stopping suddenly.

Because sudden braking can cause tires to skid on slippery surfaces, ABS prevents this from happening by helping keep traction under control and allowing for safer stops. Another name for The ABS sensor is the wheel speed sensor.

The ABS brakes apply more quickly than the older manual type. A grinding sound is made by the ABS brake when it engages in certain cars.

Earlier ABS models have their sensors mounted outside the wheel hub, usually in the differential housing and steering knuckle.

The ABS ring gear attaches to the brake drum with the brake rotor as support. According to the type of ABS used, vehicles may have 1 to 4 sensors for ABS. Modern cars have ABS sensors within the hubs of the wheels.

The front wheels will feature a small one, while the rear would have another equally small sensor that runs independently.

What Is The ABS Sensor Made Of

ABS sensors have two parts: a rubberized band and a magnet. When the two are in proximity, an electrical signal is generated, which is converted to a digital signal.

This digital signal is then sent to the brake controller, which will utilize this data to calculate each wheel’s speed.

How Does The ABS Sensor Work

How Does The ABS Sensor Work

The ABS sensor allows the car to be controlled regardless of the road conditions. More recent models also have some traction control capabilities.

The moment there’s a loss of footing or other forms of loss in traction (when your wheels lose contact with the road surface), the computers in the navigation system adjust the brake power accordingly, ensuring the vehicle will stop safely even on wet surfaces.

ABS sensors can control how fast a car’s wheels are spinning and make them begin to slow down to a stop.

When one of the vehicle’s tires is not rotating (locked up), the sensor will tell the electronic control module that something is wrong.

The computer then decreases the amount of energy applied to the wheel to spin while decreasing its braking force. Hopefully, the wheel will regain traction, which means it’ll be able to rotate again.

Newer cars have ABR (Acceleration Slip Regulation) systems that contribute to the vehicle’s safety through the interaction of traction control and stability control.

Also Read: Key Stuck In Ignition? Here’s How To Remove It

Reasons Why ABS Sensor Light May Come On

Reasons Why ABS Sensor Light May Come On

When the ABS light indicator on your dashboard comes on, it usually means there’s something wrong with your braking system which needs to be addressed.

The reason for the light turning on could be any one of four different things:

1. Low Fluid Levels

The brakes work by applying hydraulic pressure to the brake pads to stop the car. The brake fluid level must be consistent in a vehicle to keep pressure on the brake pads.

If the fluid is inconsistent, the pressure will not be applied effectively, making you more likely to have an accident.

If you notice a slow leak in your vehicle’s braking system and the fluid that leaks evaporates, then your vehicle’s brake pads will gradually become less effective.

In turn, this could result in the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) light being turned on by the car’s computer as a safety precaution.

2. Damaged Wheel Speed Sensors

Wheel speed sensors measure how fast the wheels of your car are rotating. Your vehicle’s computer then uses this data to determine things like when you’re about to flip over.

For example, if one of your wheels stops turning normally or slowing down, sensors will tell the car to shift power to the other wheels in order to compensate for it and ensure you can control your car properly.

In the event of a malfunctioning or dirty speed sensor, it cannot relay accurate information. The ABS and traction control systems will typically be disabled until the problem has been fixed, making the ABS light come on.

3. Faulty ABS Module

Your vehicle’s ABS is in communication with the traction control system. The Traction control system is a safety feature that reduces the power of your car’s engine if it detects a problem with one tire spinning unevenly.

As soon as it stabilizes its grip on the ground, the car’s engine will shut off. This happens so that you don’t accidentally exert too much force and end up spinning out your engine.

There is a possibility that the ABS and the traction control will conflict with each other because the same module controls both, and both contain self-diagnostic functions.

For example, you may see the ABS light turn on when you have a problem with the traction control system.

You may not have a problem with the ABS, but it could also be something else that you need to check.

To find out why the light comes on and discover how to best move forward in solving it, we recommend that you have a professional check your car.

4. Your ABS Is Turned Off.

As surprising as this might sound, you can decide to either turn your traction control or ABS on or turn it off. The ABS dash indicator will be illuminated if the ABS has been shut off.

This indicates that the safety feature you’re equipped with isn’t working. You might have mistakenly shut down the ABS if your car’s ABS light turns on.

You’ll want to double-check and make sure you didn’t accidentally press the switch. See your owner’s manual to determine where this feature can be found, and make sure something hasn’t been accidentally turned off when you weren’t aware of it.

Also Read: Power Steering Fluid Leak – Signs, Causes & Repair

What to Do When Your Abs Light Comes On

What to Do When Your Abs Light Comes On

You can drive to your destination if your ABS light comes on independently, as your regular brakes will continue to function. But keep in mind that in case of an emergency, the ABS will not respond so you need to be more careful when driving.

You should see an auto mechanic if you notice that your vehicle’s anti-lock brakes warning light comes on because it could indicate an electrical problem with your car’s anti-lock braking system.

The ABS helps prevent you from skidding when you apply your brakes in a hurry and is therefore very important. If it malfunctions, it means that your mechanic needs to check and address what might be causing the problem quickly, because sudden braking could lead to accidents.

If you have the ABS light and brake warning light illuminated simultaneously, this is a serious situation. As far as you should drive with both situations, it might end up in catastrophe.

You are supposed to slow your vehicle slowly and come to a full stop when possible. Afterward, turn off your car’s engine and then call your breakdown service or local garage to get assistance from a nearby location.

Frequently Asked Questions About ABS Sensor

What Is An ABS Sensor?

An ABS sensor is a sensor that helps the brake of your car to function properly. Because all four wheels don’t turn at the same speed, the ABS sensors report all four wheels’ speeds to the ECM. The ECM uses this information to determine if the wheels are locking.

What happens if an ABS sensor fails?

Loss of stability or traction control: The ABS computer will typically disable the stability/traction control systems if it detects a poor wheel speed sensor. A bad wheel speed sensor can also affect other functions, such as hill-start assistance and roll stability.

Is it safe to drive a car with an ABS light on?

It is a bad idea to drive with your ABS Light on. This is because it indicates that your ABS is not functioning properly. Your vehicle may not be able to handle heavy braking as it was designed. This is an emergency situation, and you should immediately stop driving if your ABS Light or brake light comes on.

Can I drive with no ABS sensor?

If the ABS doesn’t start working, you could lose control of your car and cause a crash. The sensor can be damaged, which causes the ABS to stop working. Without the correct data, the system cannot function properly.

Is it possible for an ABS sensor to make a loud hum?

ABS controllers can make a noise similar to grinding or buzzing. You may feel a slight vibration in some vehicles. When you feel vibrations or hear noises, it is important that your foot remains on the pedal.

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