When the on-board computer turns on the ABS. light, it indicates that the computer has recorded a fault. For safety, the computer then shuts down the ABS system to prevent damage. The standard hydraulic service brakes still function as designed, but the ABS function is not available. A fail safe does exist that allows the computer to reset the light after a varying number of key cycles without the fault present. This number varies by manufacturer and year model. The most effective way to reset the light is with an ABS-capable scanner.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Automotive scanner
Install the scanner in the vehicle by plugging it into the Diagnostic connector. The connector is located under the driver's side of the dash, near the steering column, on the Oldsmobile Alero. This is the standard location on all OBD2- and CAN-compliant vehicles sold in the U.S. since 1996.
Turn the ignition key to the Run position to power up the scanner and select ABS from the Tools menu. The procedure for this varies slightly depending on the manufacturer of the scanner, but is menu-driven and intuitive. If you get stuck, refer to the scanner's instruction guide for clarification.
Select "Read Codes" from the menu, and wait as the scanner interfaces with the on-board computer and extracts the trouble codes from the memory. This only takes a few seconds. Take note of the code number and the code description before erasing the code.
Select "Erase Codes" from the menu. You will be prompted to verify your instruction to erase the code. Once it is erased, it cannot be retrieved. If the fault is still present after the code is erased, the code will reset. If it resets immediately, a hard fault is indicated and is usually repaired by replacing the part represented by the specific code. Make repairs to the system before trying to erase the codes.
Tips and warnings
- The most common causes of an ABS fault are dirty sensors and loose wheel bearings. Checking these areas will help keep the code from returning if they are the reason for the fault.
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