The Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) indicator light on the dashboard signals an issue with ABS. Thus, deactivated ABS, wheel speed sensor problems, module malfunction, faulty fuse/relay, or low brake fluid primarily trigger ABS light.
But can low battery cause ABS light to come on? Yes, ABS needs the battery to work properly. Basically, it uses sensors to monitor the speed of each wheel, sending info to the ECU to control the brakes. The ECU needs electrical power from the battery to operate and communicate with the ABS system. So, low battery juice means the ABS won’t be able to do its thing.
Keep reading to learn the connection between low battery and ABS warning lights. We’ll also offer helpful tips for addressing the issue.
Can Low Battery Cause ABS Light To Come On? How Battery Is Linked To ABS
Yes, a weak battery can be the reason why your ABS light is on. The connection between a low battery and the ABS warning light is indirect. Typically, it’s more related to the overall health of the vehicle’s electrical system.
Your battery, alternator, and related wiring are part of your vehicle’s electrical system. They’re responsible for powering the vehicle’s components.
Apparently, the Electronic Control Module is one of the components of the ABS system. This vehicle computer needs to receive sufficient power from the vehicle’s electrical system, primarily the battery.
In addition, active wheel speed sensors need an external power source to create digital signals. So, low juice will deactivate or cause the ABS system to malfunction. In turn, this triggers the ABS light.
3 Ways Low Battery Will Cause ABS Lights To Come On
Let’s look at the three possible ways a weak battery may cause the ABS light to come on.
- Power Supply: The ABS requires reliable power to run its control module, sensors, and valves. That being said, a low battery will affect their proper functioning, triggering the ABS warning light.
- Voltage Fluctuations: As the battery charge drops, it can cause the system voltage to fluctuate. This disrupts signals to the ABS module from wheel speed sensors. Often, this leads to incorrect readings or false signals, triggering ABS light.
- ABS Malfunction: Like we said before, the ABS may receive inaccurate or unreliable signals from sensors due to voltage fluctuation. Essentially, it may interpret these wacky signals as a malfunction in the ABS system. Consequently, the ABS light will illuminate the dashboard.
Low Battery Triggering ABS Lights – How To Fix
There are basically two steps to fixing ABS problems caused by low battery.
The obvious first step is to charge up your battery or replace it altogether. After all, you have to get that juice flowing to the ABS components.
After you take care of the battery issue, the next big step is resetting the ABS system itself. It’s likely that the ABS light will still be on, even after fixing the battery.
This is because the ABS computer is still flagging that something’s wrong. So, you have to reset it to clear that error code and turn off the light.
How To Reset The ABS System?
How to reset the ABS system depends on your specific car make and model. In some cases, you can manually reset it yourself. But you may need to hook up a professional diagnostic tool for other cars.
1. Resetting The ABS System Manually
First things first, check your owner’s manual. It will tell you the exact steps to reset the ABS for your specific make and model. However, if you don’t have the manual handy, follow these general steps:
Step 1: Battery disconnect
You’ll need to pop the hood and locate the battery. Use a wrench to loosen the negative battery terminal and take it off the battery. Leave it disconnected for 15-30 minutes.
Step 2: Reconnect the battery
Reconnect the negative battery terminal and tighten it up good.
Step 3: Turn the ignition on
Next, turn the ignition key to the “on” position. But don’t start the engine.
Step 4: Check warning lights
Look at the dash and see if the ABS warning light comes on and then shuts off. If it stays off afterward, that means the ABS rests correctly.
Step 5: Test the ABS
Finally, take your car for a test drive. Do some controlled brake tests in an empty parking lot to make sure the ABS kicks in when you hit the brakes.
2. Using OBD-II Scanner
If disconnecting the battery doesn’t work, you probably need a mechanic to do a full reset using their diagnostic tools. Nevertheless, it’s not worth risking getting shocked or breaking something.
Having said that, follow these 3 steps to reset ABS using the OBD-II Scanner:
Step 1: First, get an OBD-Il scanner from an auto parts store or borrow one. They’re useful for checking out car issues.
Step 2: Next, plug the scanner into the OBD port under your dashboard (while the ignition is on, but the engine is off). The scanner will scan for any error codes in the ABS system. Write down any codes it finds – they’ll help you diagnose issues later.
Step 3: Once you know the codes, the scanner can clear them to reset the ABS system. This lets everything recalibrate and “forget” the old error.
If the ABS light stays off after clearing the codes, you’re probably all set. But again, only attempt this yourself if you’re confident working with car electrical and diagnostic tools. Otherwise, take it to a mechanic who can properly reset your ABS.
Can A Bad Alternator Cause The ABS Light To Come On?
Yeah, a messed-up alternator can sometimes cause your ABS light to come on. But it’s usually an indirect cause. The alternator’s job is to charge the battery and provide power to stuff like your ABS system while the engine’s running.
So, if your alternator isn’t working right, it might not generate enough voltage. This can lead to low voltage or fluctuating voltage in the electrical system.
When that happens, it can screw with things like your ABS system. After all, ABS sensors and computers need steady voltage to work properly. So, unstable voltage from a bad alternator can sometimes confuse the ABS system enough to trigger the ABS light.
As we said earlier, ABS and traction systems share the same sensors and components. So, a bad alternator can also cause the traction control light to come on.
What Causes the ABS Light To Come On and Go Off?
Apart from low battery issues, there are other potential reasons the light may come on too. Different parts of the ABS system can go bad or have issues all on their own, triggering the ABS light.
This table highlights common culprits.
|ABS sensor issues||The sensors at each wheel monitor wheel speed to help the ABS work. If one goes bad, the ABS light comes on|
|Module malfunction||If the control module has an issue, it will trip the ABS light|
|Low brake fluid||The ABS and regular brake systems share fluid. If the fluid gets too low, the ABS light comes on|
|Blown fuse or bad relay||No power getting to the ABS because a fuse is blown or a relay isn’t working can cause the light|
|Wiring issues||Frayed or corroded ABS wires can cause all sorts of problems and trigger the ABS light|
So yeah, a weak battery or alternator can be the cause sometimes. But there are lots of other potential issues within the ABS itself that can trigger that light.If you’re wondering whether a low battery could be the cause of your ABS light coming on, our article on Silverado third brake light not working might provide insights that could be relevant to your situation. Additionally, if you’re encountering issues with the third brake light on your vehicle, our guide on third brake light not working problems offers solutions. We understand that addressing these issues promptly is important for vehicle safety, and our comprehensive resources are aimed at assisting you in resolving any concerns you might have.
Let’s answer common questions related to “Can low battery cause ABS light to come on.”
For most regular cars with working engines and mechanical brake systems, a low battery usually won’t directly cause problems with your brakes. The battery’s main job is to give power for starting the engine and running electrical parts.
It doesn’t actually have anything to do with how your mechanical brakes work, only if you have electric brakes.
This usually means there’s a problem with some parts of your car’s charging system. It may be the alternator, battery, or related electrical components.
Sometimes, yes, a weak battery can make your check engine light come on. It’s true that the check engine light is mainly about problems with your engine and emissions system. But it’s also connected to your whole electrical system, which includes the battery.
It’s true that the most common causes stem from internal ABS malfunctions. Nevertheless, a low or dying battery can also activate the troublesome ABS light in some cases. Weak battery voltage and electrical power delivery issues can confuse the ABS module, triggering the warning light.
Battery voltage testing, replacement, and proper ABS system diagnosis can help isolate the problem. But this is only if charging system problems are the root cause. Essentially, addressing battery problems quickly may prevent expensive repairs down the road.