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The ABS light or anti-lock braking system is a safety feature in vehicles that warns the driver of a problem with the sensors. Upon turning on the key, the light should come on and then go off shortly after. If it stays on, it indicates something is wrong; likely a fuse has failed or a wire has broken.
But can low battery cause ABS light to come on? The answer is yes, it can. And it can impact your vehicle’s performance significantly. When the battery is low, it can’t provide enough power to operate the ABS system properly, causing it to malfunction, and flash the lights.
Let’s shed some light on some more information that you should know and explore what you can do about it.
Can Low Battery Cause ABS Light to Come On?
As we stated, a low battery can cause your vehicle’s ABS light to come on. It can also cause other electrical components in your car to malfunction.
A car’s battery provides the electrical current that’s needed to start the engine and run the vehicle’s accessories. The alternator then takes over to provide power to the battery while the car is running. If there’s ever an issue with the alternator, it can cause the battery to run low and trigger the ABS light.
Also, even if you replace the battery immediately, the ABS light may illuminate again if the alternator can’t keep up with demands and the battery becomes drained. Your interior lights will also go out because of it.
Why Does a Low Battery Cause the ABS Light to Come On?
The anti-lock braking system is an electrical system, and it needs a certain amount of voltage to operate properly. If the battery can’t provide that voltage, it can cause the system to malfunction. Here’s why.
A car’s battery provides power to the starter, which turns on the engine. And while driving, the alternator keeps the battery charged by providing power to it.
However, batteries can run low, especially when there’s an issue with the alternator, causing the ABS light to illuminate. This is because the Alternator is not providing the power to keep the battery fully charged, and as a result, the battery lacks the power to operate the ABS system.
Another reason why a low battery can cause the ABS light to come on is if there’s a problem with the charging system or a loose connection in the electrical system. These can cause a drop in voltage (less than 13.5 volts) that will trigger the ABS light.
When the ABS and The Battery Lights Come On, What Do They Mean?
When the battery and ABS lights come on at the same time, it means that there’s an issue with the charging system. It can be caused by a bad alternator, a loose connection, or a problem with the battery. However, there’s more to it.
Anti-lock braking systems use sensors to measure each wheel’s rotational speed. All four wheels and the brake pedal are controlled by a computer to ensure the car is well-balanced and stable.
The ABS warning light will turn on if the computer recognizes an abnormal transmission or lack of signal from a sensor.
Here are four possible interpretations of such a scenario.
- Your vehicle has a system fuse blown
- It’s got a damaged or grimy wheel-speed sensor
- There’s a faulty wire connecting the sensors to the ABS system
- A malfunctioning ABS controller
What to Do when Low Battery Causes the ABS Light to Come On?
Before the light becomes permanently on, some ABS systems flash it several times. And it is often possible to figure out what’s wrong by the number of flashes. To find out what your ABS is trying to tell you, you can consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual or an online resource.
But whether you can identify the issue or not, it’s always best to take your car to a professional mechanic. Yet, you can try the following troubleshooting tips first and check if the problem persists.
Reboot the Computer
Often, a simple reboot is all that’s needed to reset the system and make the light go away. To do this, turn off your car, wait a few seconds, and turn it back on to see if the problem has gone away.
Check the Fuses
A blown fuse is one of the most common reasons for an ABS light to come on. So, if you know how, check the fuses to see if that’s the problem. You can find the fuse box under the hood or in the car’s cabin.
Look for a Loose Connection
A loose connection can cause all sorts of electrical problems, including an ABS light coming on. So, it’s worth taking a look to see if there are any loose wires. If you’re comfortable doing so, you can check the connections yourself.
Get the Alternator Checked
As we mentioned before, a bad alternator can cause the ABS light to come on. So, if you suspect that’s the problem, it’s best to take it to a mechanic and have them check it out.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions about low battery causing the ABS light to come on.
Can I Drive with The ABS Light On?
It’s not advisable to drive with the ABS light on as it indicates there’s a problem with the system. Driving with a faulty ABS can be dangerous as it increases the risk of losing control of the vehicle, especially in an emergency braking situation. In particular, if your vehicle skids, it can be more difficult to regain control.
What Is the Cost of Fixing the ABS Light?
The cost of fixing the ABS light will depend on the problem. For example, if it’s a blown fuse, you can replace it yourself for around $20-$40. However, if it’s a more serious problem, such as a bad alternator, the cost can be upwards of $500.
Can a Loose Battery Terminal Cause ABS Light to Illuminate?
Yes, a loose battery terminal can cause the ABS light to come on as it can prevent the system from getting the power it needs to function properly. When the terminal is loose, it can cause an electrical current to arc, which can damage the ABS sensor.
Will Disconnecting the Battery Reset the ABS Light?
Likely, yes. If the ABS remains disconnected from the battery long enough, the system will reset, and the light will go off. However, this is not a permanent fix as the problem that caused the light to come on in the first place will still be there.
We hope this article has helped you understand a little better what to do when the ABS light comes on in your car.
If you are experiencing issues with your ABS, always have it checked out by a professional. In addition to performing a general diagnostic test, they will also be able to confirm if a low battery is the cause of the issue and how best to fix it.
However, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try some of the troubleshooting tips we’ve mentioned. But, be sure to exercise caution as working on the electrical system can be dangerous.