The ABS which stands for Anti-lock Braking System is a vehicle functional feature that prevents the wheels from locking up when the brake pedal is suddenly slammed on, in an emergency, or on a wet or slippery surface.
The ABS increases friction between the tires and the ground to enable stopping power to stop the vehicle from skidding. The brake function is putting the vehicle to a stop in case of emergency or at the end of a driving session.
Since the ABS prevents the wheels from locking up when the pedal is suddenly slammed, is it safe to drive with ABS and brake light on?
It is not safe to drive with both ABS and brake lights on. If both lights are on at the same time when your hand brake is not in use, it indicates that there are serious problems with your braking system that needs to be fixed immediately.
What is ABS Light?
The ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) light is a warning light icon on the dashboard of a vehicle. Its function is to alert the driver when a potential problem with the ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) occurs.
What is Brake Light?
Brake light is a red taillight found at the back of a vehicle that automatically illuminates when the vehicle brakes are applied.
While driving, if the brake warning light comes on, the car is letting you know that your vehicle is either low on brake fluid, activation of the emergency brake, a problem with the sensors, or there’s trouble within the ABS unit. It shouldn’t be ignored at all.
Is it Safe to Drive with ABS and Brake Light On?
It is not just safe to drive with the ABS light on, but it is safe to drive ‘carefully’ with the ABS light on. Do make sure to get it checked quickly.
Driving with the ABS light on does not impact normal braking. It is not recommended you drive with the ABS light on because this system assists in controlling and stopping the vehicle, and it can be dangerous to drive without knowing your vehicle’s ABS is in perfect working condition.
The ABS light signifies a problem with the performance of the Anti-lock Braking System. Hence, in the absence of your ABS working properly, the vehicle may not properly handle it like it was designed to under heavy braking.
The brake light on means there’s something wrong with the brake system. It could be a problem with the brake fluid or a warning to expect a brake failure. It could be that your brake fluid is leaking.
If you drive with the brake light on, you may have a bit of a problem stopping the vehicle. The light is communicating to you, so when it comes on, it is either you give it a look or drive the vehicle to a mechanic shop and make inquiries about why it’s on.
However, if both the ABS and brake warning lights are on, it signifies a much more serious problem and you should not continue to drive.
When this happens, bring your car to a stop, and be very careful with your brakes, reducing the speed gradually. Do not slam on the brake abruptly.
After stopping in a safe place, switch the engine off and contact a breakdown service or a mechanic shop to have to vehicle recovered.
The sudden feeling of worry you feel when your ABS or brake light comes on is normal. What is also normal is to carry out an inspection on the ABS and brake control when the warning lights come on.
Things to Check When Your ABS Light Comes On
If your ABS light comes on, here are things to should check:
1. Brake Fluid Reservoir
The first thing to do when the ABS light comes on is to make sure that the fluid levels are not too low. The ABS warning light can get activated if the levels of the brake fluid have been reduced.
After checking, if it turns out to be an issue, you can top the brake fluid, which should cause the ABS warning light to go off.
If this does not work and the light does not go off, it is a sign of a more serious problem. Reach out to a garage or mechanic shop to check what is wrong.
2. The System Is Turned Off
You may have an optional feature to turn your ABS on and off. When the system is turned off, it will normally turn the indicator light on, displayed on your dashboard, to warn you that the important feature that ensures safety is not working.
If the ABS warning light is on, then there is a high chance that the system may have accidentally turned off. Go ahead to check if you may have bumped the switch accidentally, and consult the vehicle manual if you do not know where the switch is located.
3. Malfunctioning ABS Module
The ABS shares an important component with the traction control system, which is another system in the vehicle.
Sometimes, an issue with the traction system can cause the ABS warning light to come on. This is because both the ABS and traction control share a control module and one can sometimes interfere with the other.
4. Broken Speed Sensors
Wheel speed sensors tell how fast each wheel is turning independently. If a speed sensor is dirty or is not working, it can not relay information correctly.
Rather than make adjustments, it will disable the ABS until the vehicle is restarted before the problem is solved.
Things to Check When Your Brake Light Comes On
Here are the things to check if your brake light comes on:
If The Handbrake Or Park brake Is On
The first and more basic check is to see if the park brake or handbrake is still on. If it is raised at the slightest one click, the brake warning light will be caused to come on. Reset the handbrake and continue on your way.
Brake Fluid Level
When the level of the brake fluid is low in the reservoir, the brake warning light will automatically turn on. This could be a result of the brake pads being worn down.
Rear Brake Lights
Another basic check to carry out when the brake warning light comes on is to check on the brake lights on the back of your vehicle. The brake warning light can come on when one or both of the vehicle’s brake lights have failed.
How Long Can You Drive with ABS and Brake Light On?
You can drive for about 2-3 hours with only the ABS light on, after which you need to provide a solution to what might be wrong with the system.
If both the ABS light and brake light come on, it is an emergency; you should stop driving immediately. Contact a mechanic or auto repair shop and get a trained technician to inspect your vehicle.
How Much Does it Cost to Fix ABS and Brake Light?
Getting a replacement bulb for brake lights plus labor varies widely and would cost about $30-$150. This depends on the make, model, quality, and where you go to acquire labor to get the work done.
The cost of fixing the ABS light with payment for labor will cost about $180-$300. This also depends on the make and models. The cost can run higher for different types of models.
To fix the ABS control, for an initial inspection, a good technician will charge about $100. Most repairs to fix ABS control run within the estimated cost of $300-$1000.
If you would like to get rid of the worry you feel when those lights illuminate your dashboard, take proper responsive measures. Get the affected controls repaired by a qualified technician. Ensure that a professional evaluates the cause of the lights turning on and provides an adequate solution.