My ABS Light Is On - What Should I Do?

The ABS light on your vehicle is an important indicator of the status of your braking system. It is normal for the light to come on as you are starting your vehicle. However, if the ABS light comes on and stays on, there is a problem with the Anti-Lock Braking System. Although it may not be serious, it should be checked out as soon as possible by an expert. Contact us at Hansma Automotive if you have any concerns about your brakes.


Call or Text: 519-748-5533

What is ABS?

ABS stands for Anti-lock Braking System. This system is found in most modern vehicles, having begun to be offered on vehicles in the early 1970's. The system was originally developed for aircraft as early as the 1920's, with its main purpose being to prevent skidding when brakes are applied. 


There are four main component parts to the modern ABS system found on vehicles, including:

  • Speed sensors  - This determines the speed of the wheel
  • Valves -  Each brake line has a valve controlled by the ABS computer
  • Pump - The pump maintains the correct pressure to the braking system 
  • Controller - The controller electronically controls the braking system 

If your ABS light, which is located on your instrument panel, comes on and stays on, contact us for a diagnostic.

Instrument panel showing ABS light, brakes and parking brake all lit up.

Instrument panel showing ABS light, brakes and parking brake all lit up.

What Does it Mean if The ABS Light Stays On?

If your ABS light comes on and stays on, there are a number of potential problems and it is best to have a certified mechanic run a diagnostic.  Operating the vehicle is dangerous as the ABS will not be functioning correctly and you could potentially lose control on a slippery road or if you have to carry out an evasive manoeuvre while driving. In the rare case that both the ABS light and brake lights come on and stay on, the vehicle is not safe to drive. Pull over and have the vehicle towed to an auto repair facility.

What To Do If Your ABS System is Not Working

ABS is a relatively new feature on vehicles. Nevertheless, most drivers under the age of 30 or so may not recall the instructions that used to be provided by driving experts about braking prior to the advent of ABS. The purpose of the system is to prevent wheels locking up on a wet or slippery surface when the brakes are firmly applied. The ABS does this by allowing the wheels to have some free movement when they sense brake pressure. A reasonable simulation of this can be accomplished by pressing and releasing your brakes as quickly as possible during the braking maneuver. This allows the wheels a modicum of spin, preventing lockup.

"I have been taking my vehicles to Hansma's for over 20 years. Pete has always given good advice, hasn't done unnecessary repairs. They do great work, and if something needs correcting they are quick to do so. A few years ago, when debating about repairing an older model car, Pete recommended not fixing it and moving on, even though this meant less income for the shop. I have personally recommended Hansma's to several friends, who have been extremely satisfied with the service there." - Doug
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Hansma's Professional Approach

You can be confident that we believe in keeping you and your passengers safe. Don't take risks with vehicle safety, take advantage of our professional approach and contact us immediately if you have any concerns regarding your vehicle's ABS system. The types of skidding discussed here usually occurs on a slippery surface such as rain, snow, sleet or a liquid spill. Ask us about our free shuttle service. We are located at 88 Shoemaker Street in Kitchener and can usually repair your vehicle in a few hours or less.


Anti-Lock Braking System

ABS Warning Light

React if Your Car's Brake Light Comes On

ABS Brake Repair: What to Do if the ABS Light Stays On


Posted on October 24, 2016 .