How to Troubleshoot ABS Brake Problems

Written by jennifer patterson
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How to Troubleshoot ABS Brake Problems
ABS brakes should be treated like any other brakes. (Car Brake image by Joelyn Pullano from

ABS brakes work with the braking system in a vehicle to help maintain control if there should be an emergency situation such as wet, slippery roads. Problems can occasionally occur with ABS brakes. Some of the signs that they are working correctly include a rapid pulsation of the brake pedal, or a slight vibration. If you are experiencing problems with your brakes, performing a few troubleshooting steps can help you to determine the issues.

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  1. 1

    Put the key in the ignition and turn the car on and off, if the ABS light appears on the dashboard. This will sometimes solve the issues by resetting the code stored in the memory. If the problem persists, bring the vehicle to a mechanic shop where they will use a scan to connect with the ABS controller, which will locate and fix the code.

  2. 2

    Clean the front wheel sensors if your ABS pulses at low speed while little pressure is applied. Bring the vehicle to a mechanic shop so that they can clean the sensors appropriately.

  3. 3

    Apply pressure to the ABS brake if it won't stop. Check the master cylinder brake fluid to see if it is low, and fill it to the marked level if necessary. This may also mean that air is in the hydraulic system. Bleed the hydraulic system to resolve the issue.

  4. 4

    Replace loose or broken front end parts if you experience a clunking noise while pressing the ABS brakes. Bring your vehicle to the nearest repair shop for service.

Tips and warnings

  • Schedule servicing for your ABS brakes regularly as you would for any other braking system.
  • Always leave a safe distance between you and the car in front of you when driving.

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