When your vehicle’s ABS sensor finds a problem within the speed, brake, or even wheels, there’s a high chance the ABS light will come on.
Once this happens, it is heavily recommended to fix the problem as soon as possible.
Otherwise, you may produce fatal damage to the vehicle or eventually have an accident. And you don’t want any of that.
To fix this problem without an OBDII scanner, however, can be tricky.
Here we’re going to teach you how to reset ABS light without a scan tool and how to fix the light problem once and for all.
Care to learn more about this? Then check below!
- 0.1 What Does ABS Light Mean?
- 0.2 Why is My ABS Light On?
- 1 How to Reset ABS Light Without a Scan Tool (Hard Reset)
- 2 How to Fix a Vehicle with The ABS Light On
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- 4 Conclusion
What Does ABS Light Mean?
The Antilock Braking System (ABS) refers to a part of a modern car that detects if there’s any problem with the brake, wheels, speed sensors, and other parts of a vehicle.
The focus is to prevent accidents and any possible dangers due to having a critical fault in the car.
This light usually comes on when it detects any of these problems occurring. And it usually appears directly on the dashboard.
So whenever you see this ABS light coming on, there is a high chance one or two parts of your vehicle are faulty. So it’s time to fix them up.
Why is My ABS Light On?
Now, how can you know what’s truly happening in the car? That’s not easy.
The ABS sensor checks so many different things that learning where the problem comes from can be pretty tricky.
But don’t worry. It is not rocket science either. Here are a few reasons the ABS sensor is flashing.
You may want to check the vehicle accordingly to find what’s truly the problem:
01. Faulty Wheel Speed Sensor
The wheel speed sensor is located close to the wheel. It checks that the wheel is going at the right speed by checking the brake’s pressure build.
When this sensor detects one or two wheels moving slower than the rest (by increased pressure on the brake), the sensor will signal the ABS, and the light will turn on.
But this sensor can get faulty over time. Because it is close to the brakes, the amount of heat it receives wears it out over time.
After a few years of use, the piece is likely to malfunction. This could be causing the ABS light to turn unnecessarily.
02. Old Pump & Valve
Another area of the wheel system the ABS sensor checks is the hydraulic pump. This is what increases the pressure on the brakes when the wheel is too slow.
Or eventually, what engages in the pressure-building of the brake when it breaks.
When the ABS system detects a problem with the hydraulic pump or valve, there’s a high chance the light will turn on.
And when this happens, you will either need to replace the hydraulic pump or reset the ABS light directly.
03. Too Little Brake Fluid
When you push the brake pedal on the vehicle, a small tube that connects to the brakes sends this fluid to create the pressure that engages the brakes.
When this liquid is not enough, the brake will either malfunction or engage too slowly.
If the ABS senses that the brake fluid is not enough to provide fast and effective braking, it will light up.
This could be either because the braking fluid is wearing off, leaking, or letting air enter the system.
Either way, checking the brakes and fluid is necessary in this case. But once again, you could reset the ABS light and see if the problem fixes.
04. Damaged Warning Light Sensor
Another job of the ABS system is to check whether the warning lights are correctly connected and working.
If they’re not, the ABS sensor will find out and turn on the light on the dash.
In some cases, it is not that the lights are not connected but that there’s a problem with the light themselves.
So replacing or removing them may fix the problem. But if it doesn’t, resetting the ABS light may also help.
05. Rusted ABS Module
Lastly, you may find that the ABS module has too much rust, which causes the wires to activate for no reason.
This rust may affect the communication within the module and the speed sensor, causing the ABS to light on due to the wrong connectivity.
There’s a high chance the ABS module is filled with rust. Sometimes, even a little bit of rust may cause this issue.
Either way, checking the problem directly by resetting the ABS light can be the way to go. Below, we’ll show you how.
How to Reset ABS Light Without a Scan Tool (Hard Reset)
Know the reasons why an ABS light may start to turn on? Then it’s time to learn how to reset ABS warning light when this happens.
Here are a few steps to take for a hard reset (without fixing the underlying problem):
01. Get a Jumper Wire
First off, go out and buy a jumper wire. You can also find it as a service connector adapter kit. These are usually available in auto-part shops and similar stores.
If you want to feel assured that it is the right piece, ask the shop owner or clerk whether it works for the DLC (Data Link Connector).
And don’t forget to tell them your vehicle’s make and year. They will probably guide you and show you the ideal fused jumper wire for the reset.
02. Locate the DLC
Once you have the fused jumper wire or service connector adapter kit, you can find the DLC connectors.
This DLC is typically located under the glove box of the car. But sometimes, it is located under the side dash on the driver side.
And in some brands, the DLC is located close to the intake manifold under the hood.
Either way, look for the DLC when the car is off. This will keep you away from any potential damage like heat and the like.
03. Connect the Jumper to the DLC
With the DLC located, it is time to connect those wires to it.
You will find that the wires have a wide connector that goes directly into the DLC. Set them up directly without hesitation.
Once the wires are in place, then you can turn on the vehicle. You will see how the ABS light starts to flash a couple of times. If it does, then you can proceed.
04. Reset the ABS System
Now that you have the fused jumper wire connected, it is time to properly reset the ABS light. Here, you will need to do 4 things:
- Without accelerating or releasing the parking brake, start pressing down the brake pedal. With one press, you should hear a click coming from the DLC area.
- After hearing that click, you should now press the brake down 8 times continuously. This should be done as fast as possible (within 3 seconds preferably).
- By now, you should not see any light flashing anymore. If you do, repeat the pedal pressing process, it should release the ABS light from engaging.
- Sometimes, the ABS will stay illuminated longer than usual, then flash four times and turn off. Once this happens, you’ve successfully reset the ABS light.
You can now proceed to remove the jumper wires and the rest of the cables from the DLC. The vehicle should be ready to roam around without a problem.
If you want a clearer idea of how to do this, watch this video:
Now, if the ABS light doesn’t turn off or the problem persists after a few hours or days – then you will need to repair the issue directly.
How to Fix a Vehicle with The ABS Light On
Let’s say you don’t want to do a hard reset on the ABS light and instead fix the problem directly from the source. In that case, these tips may help you out:
Test the Emergency Brake
First off, testing the emergency brake to see if it is the problem may help you fix the issue once and for all.
As explained before, the emergency light should turn on if your brakes stop functioning.
If the ABS senses a problem with these lights, then it will turn on the ABS signal.
To fix this, it is generally advised to adjust the emergency brake and lights as necessary. You may need to look for an expert to fix this.
Refill Brake Fluid
If the problem is related to a lack of brake fluid, you will obviously need to refill. Sure enough, we recommend only buying brake fluid from a reputable company.
It is also recommended to pour the braking oil right in. Don’t let it get contaminated with any air around.
Once you’ve refilled the brake fluid (after checking that it was low), then you may not see the ABS light again.
If the problem goes away for a few hours or days, then the problem is that you have a leak.
In that case, you may want to check the reservoir, valve, and piping. Then replace as needed.
Test the Wheel Speed Sensor
If you have a voltmeter and know how to use it, then testing the speed wheel sensor is a great idea to see if it is the problem.
Check this by connecting the voltmeter to the wheel speed sensor and then spin the wheel. You may need to lift the vehicle and put it in N.
The focus is to see whether the voltmeter senses a difference in voltage on the sensor when the wheel moves.
If it doesn’t detect a change in voltage when the wheel starts spinning, the sensor has an issue.
Otherwise, it may be just dirty or installed improperly. Check it out and test again.
In some cases, a broken wire or shorted part can cause the ABS light to turn on as well. Check and fix as needed.
Replace the ABS System
Finish by checking whether the whole ABS system is working well or just a single part.
If more than one part of the ABS system is faulty, then replacing the entire system may be a good idea.
For example, if you find that the ABS sensors and relay are faulty. Replace the whole system entirely instead of fixing it.
This should prevent any problem later on.
To do this, we usually recommend finding the ideal ABS for your vehicle’s make and year first.
The focus is to prevent any problem when installing the new piece.
In some cases, it may not even fit on the valve assembly, and that’s something you want to prevent.
Once you’ve installed a new ABS system, you should not experience the ABS light turning on again.
It is essential to mention that this replacement process can be pretty exhausting and challenging for inexperienced users.
So we typically recommend hiring an expert instead. It should cost you more, but it will save you tons of frustration.
Watch this video to have a better idea of how to replace the ABS on your car:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
There are tons of different questions to still answer the ABS light and the system itself. Here are some of these questions with their respective answers:
Should I turn the ABS light off?
We don’t recommend hard-resetting the ABS lights unless absolutely necessary.
The problem is that vehicle manufacturer install them for a reason, so you must only reset this light in case it is essential for a repair. Instead, try fixing the problem from the source.
How does an ABS system cost?
An ABS module may cost you anywhere from $100 for a cheap option, up to $600 or more for a high-end model. It depends on your car’s make, year, and model as well.
Should I replace the ABS system?
Like we said before, it is the last thing you should try when the ABS light turns on. There’s probably something else happening, so it is likely not the best solution.
But if you fixed everything else as described and the problem keeps happening, it is obviously time to replace it.
Is it safe to drive with the ABS light on?
We don’t recommend driving your car when the ABS light is on. Why? Because the ABS light tells you that something is happening with your car brakes or wheels.
Even if the problem is a false alarm, you only know that after checking everything else.
As soon as you see the ABS light turning on, check the vehicle following our guide. This should help you fix the problem before something bad happens.
Having issues with the ABS system is not something that happens every day. But when it does, it is best fixed right away. This guide may help you with that.
You should know how to reset ABS light without scan tool and repair the ABS light source problem as needed.
Follow every step to the letter, and you should get to the problem sooner or later. Don’t hesitate and start trying to fix the problem now.