A car’s dashboard has different lights for different purposes, and it can be really perturbing for one of these lights to come as you are driving.
Whenever a light on the dashboard comes on, it should never be ignored, as it’s usually a sign that there might be a problem with one of the vehicle’s components.
It’s important to know what each of these lights represents, especially for ABS and traction control lights.
This is to keep you safe and protect your vehicle in the long run.
But what’s the next right thing to do when the ABS and traction light comes on? Continue reading to find out.
What is ABS and Traction Control Light?
Many people usually confuse ABS with abdominal muscle, but the two are completely unrelated.
ABS is short for the anti-lock braking system, and it helps prevent the wheels of a vehicle from suddenly locking or stopping moving after the braking is applied.
ABS offers the driver better control to drivers in different situations, which is possible because the system works by braking successively.
It is also an important feature for emergency situations.
On the contrary, the traction control system helps ensure that the wheels of a vehicle do not slip while accelerating.
This system is mostly handy in cases with low traction like snow and rain, and it works by providing sufficient throttle application in such situations.
The traction control system’s mechanism of action helps create a balance between traction and throttle for increased stability on different road surfaces.
Basics of How To Reset ABS and Traction Control Light (2023 Updated)
ABS and traction control lights indicated different warnings and are often triggered for different reasons.
After identifying what’s causing the light to come on, the next thing is to solve the problem.
This involves resetting the lights to restore the proper functioning and efficiency of the different safety features in the vehicle.
But what are the ways to reset these warning lights? Here are methods to follow the ABS and traction light of the light.
Following the methods below will make it easy to reset the ABS light.
01. Resetting The Central Computer
The first thing to do is the unplug the positive cable from the battery of the car, and after that, the next thing is to hold the brake pedal.
Doing this will easily drain the electrical system of the vehicle. The next thing to do is to plug back the possible cable to restore the vehicle’s power again.
This should easily solve the problem, and you’ll not notice the ABS light anymore.
However, it’s very much possible to notice that the ABS and traction light appear again after this solution.
02. Check for Worn-Out Sensors
If the first method does not permanently reset the light, you may need to check that the ABS sensors have not worn out, and if that’s the case, changing them will solve the problem.
For this, you’ll need to unscrew their wheel-hub-mounted housing, unplug the wire, and attach new sensors.
After this, you’ll need to perform the reset of the central computer again.
03. Check The Emergency Brake
Failure to the vehicle’s emergency brake system can also cause the ABS and traction control light to come on, and this would require fixing.
Adjusting the position of the emergency brake can reset the light.
04. Replace The Brake Fluid
The brake fluid is also a potential reason why the ABS and traction control light comes on. This is why people are also advised to use quality brake fluids.
Topping your vehicle’s brake fluid if it’s running low or replacing it completely if it’s already old can reset the ABS and traction control light.
However, a proper brake fluid replacement requires flushing the old oil before adding a new one.
05. Use an OBDII Reader
You may need to connect an OBDII reader if the problem persists after the first two methods above.
This will easily identify what’s causing the light to turn on, and sometimes the problem may be from other brake components.
Why Does ABS and Traction Control Light Turn on?
You can only address why the ABS and traction control light comes on if you know what the actual cause is. Here are some reasons why your ABS and traction control light:
01. ABS Module Failure
This is the most common reason why either of the light come on. The brake may be malfunctioning due to faulty brake pedals.
It could also be that there’s a problem with the ABS controller.
02. PCM Errors
The central computer of PCM places a key role in the functioning of the ABS and traction control system.
Therefore, problems in the PCM can cause both lights to come on, and fixing this will require reprogramming.
03. Blown Fuse
Blown fuses between the system sensors can also cause the ABS light to come on. If this happens, the PCM will activate the ABS and traction light.
04. Worn-Out Brake
If the brake or its component gets worn out, it can cause the ABS and traction light to come on.
To easily identify this issue, you may need to scan the brake control module.
05. Wheel Alignment Issues
If you drive consistently in an area with potholes or icy situations, it can alter the vehicle’s wheel alignment, thereby triggering the ABS and traction control lights to come on.
This is there won’t be sufficient pressure when both systems are applied.
06. Steering Angle Sensor Malfunctioning
This sensor is located within the steering column, and it’s responsible for measuring the position, angle, and turning efficiency of the steering wheel.
However, a fault with this system can affect the traction control system, thereby causing the light to come on.
07. Tire Speed Sensor Malfunctioning
A failure or malfunction in the tire speed sensor can cause the ABS light to come on. A scanner can also help in identifying this fault.
08. Low Tire Pressure
There are sensors responsible for monitoring the vehicle’s wheel, and these sensors are triggered when the pressure of the tire becomes low.
When this happens, the sensors send information and impulses that turns on the ABS and traction control light.
09. Low Brake Fluid
This can alter the movement of the vehicle. The brake system will slot to feel spongy and soft.
When this happens, it can provide different indicators on the vehicle’s dashboard that will come on and the ABS light.
10. Traction Control Turned off
A lot of people turn of their traction control for one reason or the other, but it’s mostly because they feel that they don’t need the feature.
It’s important to note that this could be a reason why the light for traction control on your dashboard is on, and if that’s the case, then you may need to turn it off.
11. Limp Home Mode
This is a security feature in cars and is usually activated when a mechanical or electrical component starts to malfunction, and this can cause the ABS and traction control lights to come on.
How To Determine Why Your ABS Light Brake Light and Traction Control Light on
The need to know what to look for when diagnosing the cause of any of these lights illuminating on your dashboard cannot be overemphasized.
However, the triggering factors for these lights are not completely the same.
Some of the factors that you’ll need to check when determining why your ABS light, brake light, and traction control light is on include:
- Low brake fluid
- Low battery voltage
- Low brake pads
- Broken wheel speed sensor wire
- Parking brake set
- Dirty tone ring
- Bad ABS module or any ABS fault
There are different ways to determine these faults, but the most recommended way is to use an OBDII diagnostic tool, especially for recent vehicles.
Special make-specific tools may be required for older vehicles.
Regardless of the light that is on, it’s important to ensure that the problem is solved as soon as possible.
Fortunately, most ABS light, brake light, and traction control light issues can be resolved with different DIY approaches.
What Are The Risks of Ignoring ABS and Traction Control Light?
ABS and traction control lights should not be ignored for any reason, as ignoring these warning lights can lead to even more severe issues.
Initially, when any of the lights come on, the vehicle may still function properly; it may seem as if there’s no issue with the vehicle.
However, when in the middle of the road, and a situation arises whereby you’ll need to slam the brakes, you have no guarantee that the ABS and traction control system will engage.
This increases the chances of the vehicle skidding uncontrollably in any direction.
Tips To Prevent ABS Light, Brake Light, and Traction Control Light on Issues
Here are a few tips to help you prevent abs light brake light and traction control light on issues:
- Always check to ensure that there is no ABS module failure
- Check the brake fluid regularly, and top or replace the fluid whenever it’s low
- Get a wheel alignment regularly
- Always remember to turn on the traction control system
- Clean your vehicle properly, especially after driving in a dirty environment
- Always check for defective valves and pumps in your vehicle
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:
What is The Purpose of ABS Brakes?
ABS brakes are designed and included in cars as part of safety features, and the brakes help in that the wheels of a car do not skid during hard braking.
The brakes also help prevent wheels from locking up so that drivers can easily steer the vehicle, even when braking hard.
ABS brakes also help ensure that a vehicle does not skid while braking, which can be dangerous.
Is it Safe To Drive a Vehicle Without ABS?
This depends on the level of skill and experience of the driver.
A driver with very little experience may not know how to reduce the speed of the vehicle, especially if it does not have ABS, and an emergency occurs.
Only experienced drivers know how to maneuver their way around this.
Fortunately today, most vehicles today come with ABS, and as such, there’s no need for drivers to learn how to pump brakes in cases where the vehicles wheel lock-up.
Only older drivers who grew up without ABS brakes know how to handle cases where the wheels lock-up
Are ABS Brakes Necessary?
Yes, for modern cars, ABS brakes are important, and this is particularly for safety purposes, as the breaks minimize the risks of a crash or serious accident.
This feature is one of the best features to be included in the last few years as it has saved lives in different parts of the world.
What Does The Traction Control System Do?
The main purpose of the traction control system in vehicles if for safety, in other to check whenever a vehicle wheel loses its traction.
Once the wheel is identified, the traction control system immediately applies the brakes on that feel.
In some cases, the traction control system may reduce the vehicle’s power to further increase safety.
Does Traction Control Affect Speed?
The traction control system is a feature that is solely designed to increase safety when on the road.
However, for people who want to be fast on the road, the traction control system may limit performance and reduce the acceleration of the vehicle.
Does Traction Control Reduce Engine Power?
As mentioned earlier, the traction control system reduces the speed of an engine, as it mostly determines the wheel to apply the brake on so that the vehicle does not skid off the road.
In general, the traction control system and the ABS work simultaneously to increase the stability and safety of a vehicle.
From all that we have mentioned above, the summary is that the ABS and traction control light will come on anything there’s a faulty wheel sensor, a mechanical failure, or if the PCM detects a malfunction in any of the vehicle’s brake components.
Even though both lights do not necessarily mean a severe issue, it’s important to pay attention to them, as they are a potential signal of an issue that can turn serious if ignored.
Don’t panic if the ABS and traction light of your vehicle comes on while driving because your brake will still work.
You only need to moderately apply the brake to reduce the vehicle’s speed and prevent slippage.
The best way to identify the issue is with an OBDII scanner, and with this, you can easily reset the ABS and traction control lights.