The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has listed the Ford Explorer as one of the safest cars. But what happens when you see its ABS light constantly illuminate that car’s dashboard? Naturally, it will make you concerned for your and your family’s safety.
So, why is your Ford Explorer ABS light on? The main reason is that the wheel speed sensor is facing some sort of issue. Proper cleaning and replacement of the faulty sensor can fix it. The other reason might just be with your module, brake fluid, wires, battery, or even tire.
Here, we will dive deeper into the common issues that may trigger ABS warning lights in your Ford. Moreover, we shall also discuss some easy solutions. Read on to find out how you can properly treat it!
Table: Possible Causes and Solutions For Ford Explorer ABS Light On
Here is a quick overview of the issues that might be causing your ABS light to flicker.
|Faulty Wheel Speed Sensor||Check the faulty sensor by reading out the error code|
|Clean the debris, dirt, and mud|
|Replace the sensor|
|Bad Control Unit or Pump||Replace the pump or hydraulic circuits|
|Clear the code|
|Low Brake Fluids||Refill the Fluid|
|Inspect and fill in any leak|
|Wiring or Connector Problems||Check for any damage|
|Replace the required wire|
|Bad Relay or Fuse||Replace it with a specific AMP rating|
|Problems with the Regulator or Tone Ring||Clean the lower portion of the car|
|Broken Steering Angel Detector||Professionally diagnose and replace the sensor|
|Week Battery||Switch it with a more powerful one|
|Low Tire Pressure||Pump air into your tire|
Ford Explorer ABS Light ON: Cause and Solution
The ABS prevents the wheels from locking up during hard braking or in slippery conditions. But when the ABS light continuously flashes on in your dashboard, it means that ABS cannot function properly. Here are the detailed reasons and solutions.
1. Issue With the Wheel Speed Sensor
The wheel speed sensor monitors the rotation speed of your tires and sends the info to the control module. But this sensor gets damaged pretty easily because it is situated right near the wheels. When that happens, the system cannot forward that information.
Over time, dirt, water, mud, and debris can hamper its work capacity. And the ABS light will flicker on your dashboard.
Now, to mitigate this, you will have to go through a few steps:
Step One: Inspection
You can’t manually inspect the sensor circuit in your Ford Explorer. You need an OBDII scanner for that. After you attach the scanner, read the error code. The fault codes in Ford Explorer are usually either or all of these codes:
- C0035: Fault in the front left wheel speed sensor
- C0040: Any issue in the front right sensor
- C0051: Damage in the rare right detector
- C0045: fault in the rare left detector
Step Two: Cleaning
Regular cleaning with washcloths may sometimes solve the issue. After that, clear the ABS code in the OBDII.
Step Three: Replacement
Even after cleaning and resetting the code, if you still see the light, sadly, you will have to replace the sensor like this:
- First, park the car, engage the emergency brake, and lift it on the jack stand.
- Remove the wheel and disconnect the wiring harness from the sensor.
- Now, unclip and unbolt the old sensor and put the new sensor in its place.
- Secure it, put the wiring harness in place, and put the wheel back.
This video should help you further:
After that, clear the code and see if the light is still there. Don’t know how? Well, we have discussed it below. Make sure that the new sensor is compatible with your Ford Explorer.
2. Bad Control Unit or Pump
The ABS module is a mini computer that processes the data from the hydraulic brake and different sensors. After analyzing the data, it ascertains when to ease up on the breaking pressure from the tire.
When the module faces issues, the ABS might start abruptly or may not even work in emergencies. Another thing that can happen here is that your pump might keep working even when the engine is turned off.
When the ABS starts acting up like this, a fault code is stockpiled in the memory.
To fix this issue, follow the steps below.
Step One: Diagnosis
The first thing you have to do is read the code in your OBDII device. Usually, the common code in this instance is C1073.
Step Two: Replacement
In this situation, a simple pump change will do the trick. You can do it by following these steps:
- First, park the car and disconnect the battery by unplugging the negative terminal.
- Now, lift your car on a jack stand.
- After that, depressurize the brake system to control any fluid leaks.
- Disconnect the brake line and all the other connectors from the pump and then unscrew it from its place.
- You might have to remove the broken fluid sensor to take out the pump.
- Now, put the new pump in its place, secure it, and reconnect the break line.
- Now, put fluids in the braking system and then start the engine for a test run.
But if you notice any coil burn or hear any humming noise from the module, you have to change the whole unit.
Step Three: Clear Code
After you have replaced the parts, clear the code from the OBDII device.
3. Short on Brake Fluids
Your Ford Explorer has a hydraulic brake system. This means the system works by utilizing the force of a cylinder pushing against brake fluid.
So, when its level is low, there is not much substance to pressurize. The end result is that your ABS will not work and the light will show up.
Refilling the brake fluid will mitigate the issue. Here is how:
Step One: Locating The Brake Fluid Tank
First, you have to open your hood and secure it. The reservoir should be at the back of the engine with a maximum and minimum level marking.
Step Two: Refilling
Put brake fluid in the tank until it reaches the minimum mark. But make sure the fluids are compatible with Ford Explorer.
4. Wiring or Connector Problems
Most ABS connectors and wires are underneath your vehicle. So it’s no surprise that most of them get damaged over time due to dust and debris.
When this happens, different sensors won’t be able to work properly. Since the module may have a hard time, the light will flicker on.
There is a simple solution for this:
Step One: Inspection
Slide underneath your Ford and inspect every fire connected to the module.
Step Two: Replacement
Once you find the faulty one, you have to get a new one and connect it to your ABS.
5. Bad Relay or Fuse
ABS has a fuse. It protects the module from sudden bursts of power. In case the fuse blows, the connection between the battery and the ABS device sometimes gets disrupted. Thus, the ABS light will stay on.
Here is the fix for this:
Step One: Find the Cause of the Blown Fuse
Before you change the fuse, you need to find the cause of its disruption. A damaged wire that connects two separate wires might be the cause. Sometimes, even the damaged module can cause the fuse to blow.
Step Two: Replacement
Now, you have to replace the fuse or damaged wire.
6. Problems with the Regulator or Tone Ring
The regulator or the tone gear helps the wheel-speed sensor to function properly. It is located right near the sensor.
This means that, like the sensor, it can get clogged with dirt. And the ABS stops working, sensing this irregularity.
There is only one solution to this problem. You have to slide underneath your car and then clean the tone ring properly.
7. The Broken Steering Angel Detector
ABS and Traction control units share the steering angle sensor. That’s why both of them can overlap. So, if there is an issue with the steering angle sensor, both the ABS light and TCU light may flicker.
To get rid of this issue, change the detector like this:
Step One: Locating
Disconnect the negative terminal from your car’s battery. Wait a bit for the power to die down. Then, remove the steering wheel with a wheel puller and lock plate remover. The old sensor should be behind the steering wheel.
Step Two: Unscrew
Now, unscrew the old one and put the new one in its place. Properly secure it and then put the steering wheel back in its place.
Step Three: Testing
Now, reconnect the battery terminal and run a test to ensure the steering wheel is working properly. Once you have done it, clean the error code.
8. Week Battery
ABS needs high power from the battery to function. When the system doesn’t get that, it shuts down. The flickering light might be an indication of a lack of a power source.
To fix this issue, you must get a new battery that can properly support your ABS. Once the system gets enough power, it should run smoothly. Thus, no light will flicker or stay on.
9. Low Tire Pressure
Ford Explorer’s tire pressure should be 33 psi. The car manual and the sticker on the driver’s door frame should have this info. When any tire has less air pressure, it actually causes the wheel to spin faster.
When pressure is low, the speed sensor sends that data to the module and it triggers a fault code.
You have to give air to your tire. And make sure all the wheels of your Ford have stable pressure.
Troubleshooting: Resetting Solution
Resetting the ABS light involves clearing the error codes stored in the vehicle’s computer system. But you should only do it after you have addressed the real issue.
- First, take your OBD scanner and plug it into the port.
- Now, Start your Ford Explorer, but don’t ignite the engine.
- Now select your car and model. You can also pick the option of “Auto Detect VIN” mode. VIN is your vehicle’s identification number.
- After that, press the Control Unit.
- Now, select the ABS control module.
- Once the scanner’s setup is ready, select “Diagnostics”.
- The scanner will display the stored error codes that were stored.
- Codes will also suggest what component you have to inspect or what might be the reason for the fault codes.
- Once you deal with the issue, press clear code.
- Now, restart your car again.
Aside from this, we are sure you may also have some other questions. Here are the questions most people come up with:
You can, but we won’t suggest that. You see, ABS gives you a free steering option on slippery roads or when you suddenly push hard breaks. Even without ABS, you can abruptly stop your car. But you won’t be able to steer it, and there is a huge risk of tire lock and skidding.
Absolutely not. If you don’t want to face any serious injury due to tire lock or skidding, you should find the cause of this light.
Yes, you should. Your car is no longer safe for you. Thoroughly do a check-up and seek professional help.
Most often, electrical problems don’t lie in a single issue. Your Ford Explorer ABS light on trouble may also be a compilation of one or more reasons. So, it is important that you give a thorough check.
Even after doing everything, if you can’t resolve the issue, take your car to a professional. And make sure to take your car to the mechanics once a month for a systematic checkup.