Is It Okay to Drive with ABS Light on?

The anti-lock braking system, or ABS, in short, is the system on your vehicle that helps it brake quicker and gives you more steerability. It is one of the components that keep you safe during an emergency.

When you notice the ABS light on, it indicates any problem in this system. So, you should deal with it right away.

When you notice the ABS light illuminated, you may find your car hard to steer as you press the brakes. It is because the brakes get totally locked up with the ABS not working correctly. Let’s talk about it in more detail below.

Is It Okay to Drive with ABS Light on

How Safe Is It to Drive with ABS Light on?

It is very unsafe to drive with an illuminated ABS light. You can easily recognize it with a circle with ‘ABS’ written inside.

Since your vehicle now won’t be able to brake quickly and you won’t be able to steer it, it may collide with something ahead. This event may lead to severe injury to even death.

So, you can understand how important it is to fix the ABS once it shows any symptoms of issues. Anyway, let’s look at how ABS works.

How Does ABS Work

The anti-lock braking system is self-explanatory. When you press the brake pedal, the wheels start to lock up. Meanwhile, the ABS doesn’t allow them to lock up entirely and keeps them spinning for some seconds so that you can steer away. But how does it do that?

Well, the ABS has sensors connected to every wheel of your vehicle. It can detect when the wheels are about to lock up. The modular unit of the ABS then pumps the pedal to stop the wheels from locking up totally. This way, all the wheels can keep spinning temporarily so you can steer your vehicle properly and not collide with something ahead.

If you are on a slippery road, ABS helps too. If the wheels lock up on such surfaces, the vehicle may lose track and face to any side. But since ABS prevents it from locking, the traction control can still work, and you can keep the car on track by steering it.

And thus, the ABS works. Note that not every vehicle has ABS on them. Some use the manual method, Cadence braking. It is also known as Stutter braking. Here, you press the pedal with the maximum force, then release it, and repeat until the car has stopped.

If you are well-experienced with cadence braking, you may not like the ABS at all. You are not completely unreasonable in that case. Even though the ABS does help by preventing the wheels from locking up, it may be unnecessary and even problematic under certain conditions.

How to Reset Your ABS Light?

Unfortunately, if your ABS has a real issue, you cannot permanently get rid of the light without fixing it. And it is also something you should leave to a mechanic. If only the ABS light is illuminated by a computer error, you can reset it. In fact, you must reset it as it won’t go otherwise. Try the following steps-

  • Insert the key and turn it on. But do not turn on the engine.
  • Wait for some seconds until the dashboard lights start to come on like usual.
  • Afterward, push the gas pedals three times.
  • After some seconds, check whether the ABS light is still there.
  • In it is, turn on the engine and look at it.

If the ABS light was a wrong call, it should go away right now. But if it is still there, then understand that the ABS has some malfunctions.

Final Note

It is never safe to drive with an ABS light. When you see it lighted, you can try to give it a quick reset and see if it goes away. If not, you should take no option but to take it to a mechanic. Especially if the ABS and brake lights stay on simultaneously, it is risky even to drive a little. You should immediately pull your vehicle over upon such events with your hazard lights on.

Leave a Comment